Microsoft and gaming giant Activision Blizzard, who are pursuing a merger that has been closely scrutinized by antitrust regulators in multiple countries, are still committed to the deal, per a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ spoke to sources at both companies who said they are still committed to the $75 billion deal, which would represent the largest video game acquisition in history.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard plan to continue to work toward completing their $75 billion deal by sorting out lingering regulatory issues, people familiar with both companies said Tuesday, as the merger’s closing deadline approaches.
The deal struck between the two companies early last year was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday, according to their merger agreement. It stipulates that Microsoft pay Activision a breakup fee of $3 billion if either party terminates the deal afterward. But neither company intends to do so, the people said.
While regulators in Europe, China, and even Japan — home of major Microsoft rival Sony — have approved the merger, the FTC in the U.S. and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK have attempted to block it.
The competition case against Microsoft hinges on the notion that it will make major Activision-Blizzard titles, particularly the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, exclusive to Microsoft platforms and products like the XBox. However, the company has pledged to keep Call of Duty open to other platforms, including Sony’s PlayStation.
But Sony is in an extremely strong position in the video game console market compared to Microsoft. Of the five best-selling video games consoles of all time, two (including the number-one selling console of all time, the PlayStation 2) are Sony’s. The other three are Nintendo products.
Microsoft has made this argument a centerpiece of its case against the FTC. At a recent press conference, the company pointed to the PlayStation’s towering market share compared to XBox. In Europe, the PlayStation’s market share is four times that of the XBox. Globally, it is more than double.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election. Follow him on Twitter @AllumBokhari.
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