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Microsoft 69 Million Dollars Closer to Completing Activision Deal

Microsoft President Brad Smith will on Tuesday seek to convince EU antitrust regulators at a closed hearing that the U.S. software giant’s $69 billion bid for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard will boost competition.

Smith will lead a delegation of 18 senior executives, including Microsoft Gaming Chief Executive Officer Phil Spencer, while Activision will be represented by its CEO Robert Kotick according to a European Commission document seen by Reuters.

Microsoft has defended its proposal to buy Activision Blizzard - the maker of Call of Duty and Candy Crush - at an EU competitions hearing.

Microsoft says it believes the $68.7bn (£56.8bn) deal will bring more choice to more gamers.

But rival Sony, which also attended the hearing, says the merger would give Microsoft too much control over some of the world's most popular games.

Sony owns PlayStation - a major rival to Microsoft's Xbox console.

Microsoft president Brad Smith described the EU hearing on Tuesday as "an important day".

He also rejected concerns voiced by Sony that Activision Blizzard games - specifically Call of Duty - might become restricted to Xbox users if the merger goes ahead.

"This has never been about spending $69bn so we could acquire titles like Call of Duty and make them less available," he said after the hearing.

"That's not a great way to turn a $69bn asset into something that will become more valuable over time."

In Washington, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has asked a court to block the deal over harm it would cause to the video game industry. It argued that Microsoft had a history of buying companies and restricting access to popular titles.


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