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Microsoft’s merger with Activision has been ‘cleared unconditionally’ in Serbia

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Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved unconditionally in Serbia.According to Reuters, Serbia has joined Saudi Arabia and Brazil in clearing the $68.7 billion deal, which is currently being scrutinised by antitrust regulators globally.It also claimed that Xbox maker Microsoft is likely to offer concessions to EU regulators soon in a bid to help push through the transaction.Microsoft’s sweeteners would consist mainly of a 10-year Call of Duty licensing deal to PlayStation maker Sony, it said.“Ultimately, such a move could secure an early clearance with the European Commission and subsequently be used by the parties before other antitrust agencies,” according to Stephane Dionnet, a partner at law firm McDermott Will & Emery.“However, it remains to be seen whether the active complainants will validate such concessions (in particular in terms of scope) and if behavioural remedies will also be accepted by the CMA and the FTC,” he added, referring to the UK and US competition watchdogs.Like the European Commission, the CMA recently launched an in-depth probe into the deal,  while it’s been claimed that the FTC could file an antitrust lawsuit in an attempt to block the acquisition.In statements recently provided to the CMA, Sony claimed that if Microsoft gained control of Activision’s “irreplaceable” content it could lead to the company increasing Xbox hardware, software and subscription prices.Sony also claimed that Microsoft’s “true strategy” behind the Activision Blizzard deal is to have PlayStation “become like Nintendo” and not compete in the 18-rated shooter space.

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