Microsoft is trying to push the Activision deal at the EU hearing on market competition

Microsoft President Brad Smith is on Tuesday to try to convince EU antitrust authorities at a closed hearing that the US software giant’s $69 billion bid (nearly Rs 5,71,800) for Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard will boost competition.

Smith will lead a delegation of 18 executives including Microsoft Gaming Chief Executive Officer Phil Spencer, while Activision will be represented by its CEO Robert Kotick, a European Commission document seen by Reuters showed.

The hearing will allow Xbox maker Microsoft to gauge sentiment among senior EU and national competition officials and European Commission lawyers ahead of appeals to address antitrust concerns.

“I think we’re going to make it clear that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will bring more games to more people, on more devices and platforms than ever before,” Smith told reporters en route to the hearing.

Microsoft is ready to address concerns about Call of Duty licensing deals similar to the 10-year deal with Nintendo and regulatory obligations, Smith added, without giving further details.

Microsoft announced its acquisition of Activision in January last year to take over leaders Tencent and Sony, but has faced regulatory headwinds in Europe, the UK and the United States.

Sony, which wants to block the deal, sent its gaming boss Jim Ryan.

Also attending the hearing were Alphabet’s Google and chip design and computer company Nvidia, which operates a gaming business.

“The European Commission has asked our opinion as part of its investigations into this issue. We will continue to collaborate on all processes, upon request, to ensure all views are taken into account,” a Google spokesman said.

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Nvidia declined to comment. The European Games Developer Federation, which has stated that the deal will allow Microsoft to challenge Apple, Google and Tencent, is one of the participants.

Video game distributor Valve, video game publisher Electronic Arts and the German Competition Authority, along with their counterparts in Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden will also attend the event.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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