The EU has been investigating Microsoft's proposed $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard and this week extended its timeframe for a decision until April 25. However, Reuters reports the European Commission (EC) is preparing to approve the deal without forcing Microsoft to sell Call of Duty.
Call of Duty is at the heart of the resistance against Microsoft plans to buy Activision. Sony has been a huge critic of the deal, suggesting Microsoft want to make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox/PC Game Pass. The franchise is worth billions, and Sony argues it is irreplaceable on PlayStation.
In response, Microsoft has signed a 10-year agreement to keep Call of Duty on Nintendo and a similar deal for Nvidia's GeForce Now. The company also says a similar deal is available to Sony. In other words, Microsoft says it will maintain Call of Duty as a cross-platform franchise.
It seems that commitment is enough to appease EU regulators. Microsoft has reportedly said it will make concessions to get the Activision Blizzard acquisition over the line. Many thought the EC would force Microsoft to sell Call of Duty, separating from Activision.
Of course, Microsoft would likely fight such a provision, even if Activision Blizzard does have other major franchises like Warcraft, Candy Crush, and Diablo. Although, the company may finally be making headway against regulators with reports the EC will approve the deal with Call of Duty on board.
Microsoft's proposed deal is facing scrutiny from the CMA in the United Kingdom, while the FTC in the US is currently battling the company in court over the deal. It is widely believed if one regulator approves the acquisition, the others will follow.
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