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Microsoft Sees No Activision Deal Without Call of Duty

  • Software giant in Brussels showdown with EU officials
  • President Brad Smith speaks after day-long hearing on deal
Brad Smith

Brad Smith

Photographer: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post/Bloomberg

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Microsoft Corp. made it clear on Tuesday that there will be no $69 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. unless it comes with the blockbuster title Call of Duty.

Less than two weeks ago, Britain’s antitrust watchdog suggested that Microsoft may need to divest Call of Duty — one of the most lucrative game franchises in the world — to assuage concerns about its Activision Blizzard takeover being harmful for gaming market competition. Microsoft president Brad Smith told reporters after a closed-door hearing in Brussels with European Union regulators that it isn’t “feasible or realistic to think that one game or one slice of this company can be carved out and separated from the rest” as part of the acquisition.