As reported by Reuters and spotted by VGC, Microsoft’s purposed acquisition of Activision-Blizzard has been apparently approved by the Serbian competition regulator as well, raising the number of tech giant’s approvals of the deal to 3.
Before Serbia, Saudi Arabia and Brazil were the first countries to approve this deal. Accordingly, Microsoft needs 20 approvals from regulators around the world to successfully acquire Activision-Blizzard, and while it has earned three of those approvals, it seems the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union are the toughest obstacles ahead of the deal.
As Reuters reports, Microsoft is planning to offer concessions to the EU regulator as a sign of commitment to what the company claimed before acquiring Activision-Blizzard. Some sources believe that the deal would include a 10-year commitment to Sony for publishing upcoming Call of Duty titles on the same day and with the same content on both Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
Since Microsoft announced the attempt to acquire Activision-Blizzard, Sony has been striving to stop the deal by sharing its concerns about the negative consequences of the deal with regulators around the world.
Sony’s attempt to convince regulators to veto the deal started by sharing concerns about it with the Brazilian regulator, but the country eventually approved the deal unconditionally. The same thing happened in Saudi Arabia and Serbia.
However, both EU and UK regulators have officially come to the conclusion to further investigate the deal after hearing Sony’s concerns about the possible outcomes. Since then, the head of Xbox Phil Spencer has officially confirmed on multiple occasions that they will keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for the foreseeable future, but it doesn’t seem enough for Sony.
The EU regulator should decide on the approval of the deal by April 11, 2023. It seems with offering concessions, Microsoft tries to convince regulators about the company’s commitments to what it claims at the moment. That being said, Microsoft still has to deal with the UK’s CMA as well as FTC in the US, both of which seem to be as tough as the EU regulator to convince for approval.
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