EU sends list of objections to Microsoft over Activision Blizzard takeover

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The European Commission, the competition regulator in the European Union, is likely to send a list of objections and concerns to Microsoft, Reuters writes. These concerns are about the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

It concerns a so-called statement of objections in which the Commission explains its concerns about the deal, Reuters sources report who are familiar with the subject. This document should be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks. Such a document cannot yet be regarded as a formal objection to the acquisition desired by Microsoft. A statement of objections is a mandatory step prior to a final decision.

The document must contain the essential facts on which the Commission relies and make clear how the Commission assesses those facts. The aim is to inform one or more parties involved about the concerns of the Commission, so that the parties can relate to them and possibly defend themselves against them. It must also contain a description of the infringements found by the Commission and the evidence on which the supervisor relies.

The deadline for a final decision from the EU is April 11. Reuters has asked for comment from the Commission, but received no response. Microsoft did respond, saying it will continue to work with the European Commission to address concerns about the market situation. The company says its goal is to bring more games to more people and the acquisition will accelerate that goal, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft is seeking to acquire the game publisher for $68.7 billion in what would be the largest game industry acquisition to date. The companies announced the deal last year. The American regulator FTC, among others, is critical because Microsoft would gain an unfair advantage and could limit competition in the market. These concerns, for example, relate to the question of whether access to Activision titles such as Call of Duty will be possible on competing platforms after the acquisition. Microsoft doesn’t think these concerns are justified. Among other things, the company points to the fact that it has offered Sony a ten-year Call of Duty license and that it also intends to bring the game series to Nintendo consoles if the acquisition goes through.

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