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Microsoft To Reportedly Make Concessions, Including 10-Year Deal With PlayStation, To Get Activision Blizzard Deal Done

Microsoft will reportedly offer a "10-year licensing deal" to Sony in an attempt to appease regulators and get the deal done.


Microsoft's attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard has faced a good amount of scrutiny and pressure from regulators and lawmakers, and to help get the deal done, Microsoft could make some concessions. According to Reuters, one such concession could be a lengthy licensing deal for PlayStation.

Citing a source, the report said Microsoft's main remedy to regulators at the European Commission would be for a "10-year licensing deal" with Sony. That's all the report had to offer on the matter, but presumably this pertains to the Call of Duty series that Sony has caused a stir about over exclusivity.

The New York Times reported that on November 11, Microsoft offered Sony a 10-year deal for Call of Duty on PlayStation.

Microsoft offering up a concession like this could help the deal get over the line, Stephane Dionnet, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery told Reuters. It also might not be enough given the scope of the deal and the extent of concerns from regulators not just about Call of Duty but other elements, Dionette said.

The European Commission will publish its decision by April 11, and it's just one regulatory body that needs to approve the deal or not. A spokesperson for Microsoft told Reuters that the company continues to be committed to launching Call of Duty games on the same day on Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

"We want people to have more access to games, not less," the Microsoft spokesperson said.

Microsoft's $68.7 billion bid to buy Activision Blizzard has already been approved in places like Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Brazil. The United States' FTC is investigating the deal and has more than 10 staffers assigned to review the deal, the New York Times reported, adding that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft president Brad Smith were interviewed by the FTC earlier this year.

More recently, it was reported that the FTC is "likely" to file an antitrust lawsuit over Microsoft's proposed bid to buy Activision Blizzard. Nadella and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick have already been deposed as part of the FTC investigation, a report from Politico said.

Microsoft has said its main reason for trying to buy Activision Blizzard is not to make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox but to acquire Candy Crush from Activision Blizzard and gain a foothold in the increasingly lucrative mobile games space.

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