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BRUSSELS: Microsoft said on Friday that it has offered formal commitments to the EU in its bid to persuade the bloc to approve its $69-billion takeover of video game giant Activision Blizzard.

Last year, Xbox-owner Microsoft launched a move to create the world’s third biggest gaming company by revenue by purchasing the owner of hit games “Candy Crush” and “Call Of Duty”, triggering antitrust concerns.

The European Commission, EU executive and the bloc’s powerful antitrust authority, had been due to make a decision before April 25 but said it will now extend this deadline until May 22.

This will give Brussels more time to contact companies that may be concerned about the deal as well as users after Microsoft sent the commitments to the EU.

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Neither Microsoft nor the commission would give details of the pledges submitted on Thursday.

The company has insisted the takeover will benefit customers and dismissed concerns about competition. Sony, Microsoft’s bigger rival, strongly opposes the merger.

Microsoft has recently agreed deals with many companies to give access to games, including the smash hit “Call Of Duty” franchise.

“We have stood behind our promise to bring Call of Duty to more gamers on more devices by entering into agreements to bring the game to the Nintendo console and cloud game streaming services offered by Nvidia, Boosteroid and Ubitus,” a company spokesperson said.

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“We are now backing up that promise with binding commitments to the European Commission, which will ensure that this deal benefits gamers into the future,” the spokesperson added.

Company executive Brad Smith was in Brussels last month for talks with EU officials, after which he said he was “more optimistic” about the deal’s approval but he dismissed calls for Microsoft to sell hit games like “Call Of Duty”.

Microsoft however faces a bigger hurdle from British regulators.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in provisional findings last month that the takeover could significantly harm competition and consumer choice. The CMA is to present its final report on or before April 26.


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