Microsoft just confirmed that a decade long deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation has been offered to Sony in order to advance the still unsettled Activision Blizzard acquisition. This was previously rumored to have been on the table given the incredibly consistent and very stiff opposition by Sony to the merger.
The news comes from President at Microsoft Brad Smith who recently published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, noting that “Sony has emerged as the loudest objector” to the proposed acquisition, a deal worth nearly $70 billion. According to the executive, Sony is every bit “as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix.”
“We’ve offered Sony a ten year contract to make each new Call of Duty release available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox,” Smith explained in the carefully worded article. “We’re open to providing the same commitment to other platforms and making it legally enforceable by regulators in the US, UK, and European Union.”
The offer by Microsoft is aimed at appeasing its primary competitor, Sony, along with a variety of different regulators around the world. The purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft continues to be a source of contention within the business community, attracting the attention of regulators including the Competition and Markets Authority in the United Kingdom and the Federal Trade Commission in the United States.
While the CMA has apparently been expanding its investigation of the proposed acquisition by Microsoft, the regulator is expected to establish a position on the matter at some point in the very near future, similar to the FTC which so far has refrained from putting forward a firm timeline.
“I would say the discussions have been very fair and honest. It is a big acquisition. There’s no doubt,” Chief Executive Officer at Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer mentioned back in November. “Microsoft in its role in the tech industry is a large tech company and I do think the discussion around an acquisition of this size is warranted and I’ve appreciated the time to go spend.” Spencer added that “we’re really focused on getting the deal approved in the markets. I’m confident in that. I was just in London last week and continue to have discussions with all the regulatory boards and remain confident that we’ll get the deal approved.”
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