Microsoft will present arguments for why its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard should be approved at a European Commission hearing on February 21.
The oral hearing, which won’t be public, will allow Microsoft to address the statement of objections it received from the EU last week warning about the possible anti-competitive effects of the $69 billion deal.
A spokesperson for Xbox maker Microsoft confirmed the date of the hearing to Reuters on Tuesday.
An EU hearing officer will decide whether complainants and interested third parties are to be invited to the oral hearing.
According to FOSS Patents, a courtroom-style clash between Microsoft and Sony is likely to occur at the hearing.
In response to the EU’s statement of objections, last week Microsoft told Politico it was committed to “finding a path forward” for the deal.
“We are listening carefully to the European Commission’s concerns and are confident we can address them,” a spokesperson said.
What would be the games industry’s biggest ever deal by far has been met with fierce opposition from PlayStation maker Sony and concerns from European, US and UK regulators.
While the EU’s statement of objections hasn’t been publicly released, regulators have expressed concerns that the acquisition could significantly reduce PlayStation’s ability to compete given that it would see Microsoft gain ownership of the Call of Duty series, which Sony has called “irreplaceable”.
In a bid to address these concerns, Microsoft recently said it had offered Sony a 10-year, legally enforceable contract to make each new Call of Duty game available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox.
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan reportedly met EU antitrust boss Margrethe Vestager last month to discuss the company’s concerns about Microsoft’s plans.
Shortly after, Microsoft accused Sony of misleading the EU regulator over its commitment to keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation, should the acquisition be approved.
Related Forum: Call of Duty Forum
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