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Microsoft faces EU antitrust warning over Activision Blizzard acquisition, sources say

Microsoft may receive an antitrust warning from the European Union over its $69 billion acquisition of “Call of Duty” developer Activision Blizzard, which could pose another challenge to its closing of the deal, sources said, according to a Reuters report.

Activision Blizzard

The European Commission is preparing a charge sheet, known as a statement of objections, setting out its concerns about the deal that will be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks, sources said.

The EU antitrust watchdog, which has set an April 11 deadline for a decision on the deal, declined to comment.

Microsoft said, “We are continuing to work with the European Commission to address any market issues. Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal will further that goal.”

Microsoft announced the acquisition last January, however, regulators in the U.S. and U.K. have voiced concerns, with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission taking it to court to block the deal.

Other sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in November that Microsoft is expected to offer remedies to EU regulators in an attempt to avoid a statement of charges and shorten the regulatory process.

However, EU competition enforcers are not expected to be open to remedies without issuing a statement of charges, although informal discussions about concessions are underway, these sources said.

Microsoft last month struck a 10-year deal with Nintendo to guarantee the availability of “Call of Duty” on Nintendo consoles and said it was open to a similar agreement with Sony, which has been critical of the acquisition.

The deal has been unconditionally green-lighted in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Serbia.

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