The European Commission is preparing a “statement of objections” to give to Microsoft in the coming weeks, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The European Union watchdog will list a series of objections it has to the proposed $69B USD acquisition of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft maker Activision Blizzard. The report goes on to note that the EU watchdog will not accept any remedies from Microsoft until it has officially delivered the statement of objections.
The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority review deadline is April 26, while the European Commission was expected to issue the statement of objections (SO) last week. The CMA also moved its final report date from March 1, saying that it would need more time because of the complexity of the investigation, and other factors that it had to take into consideration.
The general consensus remains the same; Microsoft will try to remedy whatever objections regulators in these different jurisdictions have and then offer those solutions to the Federal Trade Commission (the agency said it was willing to hear those remedies in January). Assuming all of these different agencies are satisfied, Microsoft hopes to have the acquisition finalized before the deadline of July 18—if it goes beyond that date it will have to either adjust the deal with Activision Blizzard or abandon it and be forced to pay the company $3B in separation fees.
Microsoft has tried to preemptively cure some of the complaints about the deal—which mostly are focused on Call of Duty becoming an Xbox exclusive at some point. The company signed a 10-year agreement with Nintendo in December that will bring the popular shooter to its current and future console platforms over the next decade. Microsoft signed a similar deal with PC games platform Steam, and also offered the same commitment to Sony for the PlayStation platform, which it firmly rejected.
The deal has been approved by the governments of Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Serbia.