BRUSSELS, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Microsoft ( MSFT.O ) is likely to receive an EU antitrust warning over its $69 billion bid for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard ( ATVI.O ). may present another challenge to closing the deal.
The European Commission is preparing a charge sheet, known as a statement of objections, outlining its concerns about the deal to be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks, the people said.
The EU’s antitrust watchdog, which has set an April 11 deadline for its decision on the deal, declined to comment.
Microsoft said: “We continue to work with the European Commission to address any market concerns. Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal will further that goal.”
The U.S. software giant and Xbox maker announced the acquisition in January last year to help it better compete with leaders Tencent ( 0700.HK ) and Sony ( 6758.T ).
US and UK regulators, however, expressed concern when the US Federal Trade Commission went to court to block the deal.
Microsoft was expected to offer measures to EU regulators to try to avoid the announcement of charges and shorten the settlement process, other sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in November.
However, the EU competition authority is not expected to be open to remedies without first sending its payment slip, although there are ongoing informal discussions about concessions, the people said.
Microsoft last month signed a 10-year deal with Nintendo ( 7974.T ) to make “Call of Duty” available on Nintendo consoles, saying it was open to a similar agreement with Sony, which has been critical of the acquisition. :
The deal has received the green light without conditions in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Serbia.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee Editing by Mark Potter
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