BRUSSELS, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Microsoft ( MSFT.O ) Chairman Brad Smith will try to convince European Union antitrust regulators on Tuesday of the U.S. software giant’s $69 billion bid for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard ( ATVI ). o) Increase competition.
Smith will lead a group of 18 senior executives, including Microsoft Gaming CEO Bill Spencer, while Activision will be represented by its CEO Robert Kodick, according to a European Commission document seen by Reuters.
The investigation will allow Xbox maker Microsoft to gauge the mood among senior EU and national competition officials and European Commission lawyers before submitting solutions to address antitrust concerns.
“I think we’ll make it clear that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will bring more games to more people on more devices and platforms than ever before,” Smith told reporters en route to the hearing.
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Microsoft is willing to address concerns about “Call of Duty” licensing deals, such as a 10-year deal with Nintendo ( 7974.T ) and regulatory agencies, Smith added, without providing any details.
Microsoft announced its acquisition of Activision in January last year to take on leaders Tencent ( 0700.HK ) and Sony ( 6758.T ), but ran into regulatory backlash in Europe, Britain and the United States.
Wanting the deal blocked, Sony dispatched its gaming chief, Jim Ryan.
Alphabet’s ( GOOGL.O ) Google and computer company Nvidia Corp ( NVDA.O ), which has chip designer and gaming businesses, also participated in the investigation.
“The European Commission asked for our views during their investigations into this issue. When requested, we will continue to cooperate in any process to ensure that all views are considered,” a Google spokesperson said.
Nvidia declined to comment. The European Game Developers Association, which said the deal would allow Microsoft to challenge Apple ( AAPL.O ), Google and Tencent, was one of the participants.
Video game distributor Valve, video game publisher Electronic Arts ( EA.O ) and the German competition watchdog and its counterparts in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden are also participating in the event.
Statement by Fu Yun Che; Editing by Chris Rees and Shaunak Dasgupta
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