By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Microsoft MSFT.O is likely to offer remedies to EU antitrust regulators in the coming weeks to stave off formal objections to its $69 billion bid for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard ATVI.O, people familiar with the matter said.
The U.S. software giant and Xbox maker announced the deal in January to help it compete better with leaders Tencent 0700.HK and Sony 6758.T.
It has since then faced regulatory headwinds in the European Union, Britain and in the United States, with Sony criticising the deal and even calling for a regulatory veto.
The deadline for the European Commission, which is investigating the deal, to set out a formal list of competition concerns known as a statement of objection is in January. Offering remedies before such a document is issued could shorten the regulatory process.
Microsoft’s remedy would consist mainly of a 10-year licensing deal to Playstation owner Sony, another person with direct knowledge said.
The EU competition watchdog, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by April 11, declined to comment.
Microsoft said it was working with the Commission to address valid marketplace concerns.
“Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games, not less,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
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(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jan Harvey and Lisa Shumaker)
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