Sony’s gaming chief Jim Ryan met EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Wednesday to discuss Microsoft’s $69 billion (about Rs. 5,62,647 crore) bid for Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The meeting came as the EU competition watchdog prepares to warn Microsoft this week about the potential anti-competitive effects of the US software giant and Xbox maker’s acquisition in the biggest gaming industry deal in history.
Microsoft is looking to Activision to help it compete better with leaders Tencent and Sony. The latter has criticised the deal and even called for a regulatory veto.
The person declined to provide details of the discussion between Ryan and Vestager. The European Commission, which is scheduled to rule on the deal by April 11, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The US Federal Trade Commission has sued to block the deal while UK regulators have also expressed concerns, arguing it would give Microsoft’s Xbox exclusive access to Activision games, leaving Nintendo consoles and Sony’s PlayStation out in the cold.
An earlier report suggested that Microsoft argued that the deal would benefit gamers and gaming companies alike, offering to sign a legally binding consent decree with the FTC to provide Call of Duty games to rivals including Sony for a decade.
Michael Chappell, the FTC administrative law judge, will rule on the deal after hearings set for August 2023.
The deal currently faces scrutiny in the European Union which is to decide by March 23 whether to clear or block the deal.
© Thomson Reuters 2023