The European Commission readies its formal ‘charge sheet’ of objections to the Microsoft and Activision deal

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Microsoft will soon be receiving the European Commission’s formal list of concerns regarding its $68.2 billion dollar bid for Activision Blizzard.

A Reuters report says that “Microsoft is likely to receive an EU antitrust warning,” in the coming weeks. While we have floated concerns mentioned by parties “familiar” with the EU acquisition investigation, there haven’t been any official ones listed until now.

As the EU comes up on its own April 11, 2023 as the deadline for making its decision, it should be sending over its list of objections and concerns to Microsoft soon so that the company has time enough to hammer out the necessary concessions for approval.

For its part, Microsoft continues to preach the same familiar cooperative rhetoric it has for months, ahead of this news that includes, “we’re continuing to work with the European Commission to address any marketplace concerns. Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal will further that goal.”

The EU’s charge sheet comes as the first of the major anti-competitive regulatory bodies Microsoft will need to gain approval to successfully acquire Activision Blizzard, as both the UK’s CMA and the US Federal Trade Commision wait in the wings to issue their own list of objections to the deal.

Perhaps in an attempt to shorten the EU’s charge list of objections, Microsoft has already begun issuing certain concessions and assurances to its competitors in the gaming market.

Sony has been assured by Microsoft that its concern over Activision’s Call of Duty becoming an exclusive bargaining chip will not be a thing as the company has offered to extend a licensing deal for up to 10 more years. Microsoft has also offered to publish the game for the Nintendo platform as well as directly to Steam.

Once the charge list is released, Microsoft’s legal team will have to work rather diligently to meet as many concessions as it can before the April 11, 2023 EU decision deadline to prevent any potential additional delays to their own acquisition timeline.

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