BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union antitrust authorities will approve Microsoft Corp.’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision (ATVI.O) next week, with May 15 as the most likely date, sources familiar with the matter said.
The European Commission’s imminent declaration comes nearly three weeks after the UK’s competition authority blocked the deal, the largest ever in gaming, over concerns it would stifle competition in cloud gaming.
An EU antitrust enforcer is expected to cancel the acquisition after Microsoft agreed to license deals with cloud-streaming competitors including Nvidia, Ukraine’s Boosteroid and Japan’s Ubitus, other people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in March.
It also has an agreement with Nintendo to bring Activision’s Call of Duty to its gaming platforms should the acquisition go through. US distributor Valve Corp., owner of the world’s largest video game distribution platform Steam, has rejected a contract, saying it trusts Microsoft.
The commission, which has set May 22 as a deadline for making its decision, declined to comment.
Japan approved the takeover in March while the US Federal Trade Commission is also seeking to block it.
(This story has been corrected to say that Valve does not have a licensing deal with Microsoft in paragraph 4)
Fu Yun Che’s report. Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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