EU review of Microsoft-Activision merger extended after remedies offer

Irish Independent Business

Economy / Irish Independent Business 1 Views comments

The European Commission extended its review of Microsoft's $69bn plan to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. to May 22 this year after the software maker formally offered remedies to allay concerns the deal could hamper competition in the gaming market.

he EU's merger watchdog said the companies had submitted remedies on March 16, according to an update on its website.

"We can confirm that the parties have submitted commitments and the provisional deadline for the commission to take a decision is now 22 May 2023," the regulator said in an emailed statement, without giving further details of what was offered.

Pressure has been mounting on Microsoft as it battles multiple fronts at home and in Europe to convince watchdogs to clear the deal, the company's largest ever and one of the 30 biggest acquisitions of all time.

Britain's antitrust watchdog last month suggested Microsoft may need to divest Call of Duty, one of the most lucrative game franchises in the world, but Microsoft president Brad Smith has made clear this would be a dealbreaker.

The company earlier this week said it struck 10-year long agreements with two cloud gaming services, Boosteroid and Ubitus. It's signed similar deals with Nintendo Co. and Nvidia Corp. to share Call of Duty with their platforms and it's offered its main rival Sony Group Corp. a similar 10-year license for the blockbuster game.

But Sony earlier this month said Microsoft's offer "would irreparably harm" the gaming industry.