Exclusive-EU seeks feedback on Microsoft’s Activision remedies for UK watchdog

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -EU antitrust regulators are asking Microsoft’s rivals and customers whether they are affected by the U.S. tech giant’s proposals to gain UK approval for its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, sources close to the matter said.

Microsoft last month offered to sell its cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft Entertainment after Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the biggest gaming deal in history.

The European Commission had cleared the deal in May after Microsoft agreed to license popular Activision games such as “Call of Duty” to rival game-streaming platforms.

That clearance was given before Microsoft proposed the Ubisoft deal to appease the UK regulator.

However, the EU antitrust watchdog has since emailed companies to ask for feedback, the sources told Reuters. The sources said it has not launched a formal investigation, suggesting it may be waiting for a CMA decision before making any move.

It was not clear which companies were asked for their comments. Companies typically prefer not to disclose dealings with the Commission because of the sensitive nature of its investigations.

An EU investigation looks unlikely, other sources said, citing the structuring of Microsoft’s CMA proposal to ensure compliance with its EU remedies.

The Commission declined to comment on the email, reiterating that it was following developments in the UK closely and assessing any potential impact on its own case.

(Reporting by Foo Yun CheeEditing by Jason Neely and David Goodman)