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Bobby Kotick says Sony leadership is ghosting Microsoft staff

Activision Blizzard CEO accuses Sony of “trying to sabotage” deal
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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has added some tinder to the already heated debate surrounding Microsoft’s $69 billion takeover of his company. Speaking to the Financial Times, the often controversial leader claimed that Sony’s leadership had completely stopped talking to staff at Microsoft: “Suddenly, Sony’s entire leadership team stopped talking to anyone at Microsoft.”

“I think this is all Sony just trying to sabotage the transaction”, Kotick added. Sony has emerged as the chief opponent of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of the Call of Duty maker, fearing that the popular franchise could become an exclusive Xbox property. Microsoft has repeatedly tried to assure Sony and regulators that such plans do not exist, offering to contractually keep the series on rival platforms for a set amount of time.

However, Sony has so far not engaged with these offers, seemingly concentrating on stopping the deal from happening. Microsoft went as far as to suggest that Sony tried to mislead the EU’s regulators about the Xbox maker’s intentions.

Regulators are skeptical about it, too. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued Microsoft over the takeover, the EU’s market authority sent a set of objections to be addressed, and in the latest development the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stated in its provisional report on the case that the deal could harm UK gamers.

The CMA also suggested that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard make “structural remedies” such as selling parts of the company off in order to get its approval.

Microsoft has since reiterated its willingness to commit to providing Call of Duty to PlayStation on equal terms with other platforms. Kotick, too, stated that the “whole idea that we are not going to support a PlayStation or that Microsoft would not support the PlayStation, it is absurd.”

Responding to a request from the Financial Times, Sony denied ghosting Microsoft’s leadership.

Activision Blizzard’s CCO also publicly argued in favor of the deal, using a completely different strategy, saying Sony “will be just fine without the FTC’s protection.”

Despite recent setbacks, Kotick is hopeful that the acquisition will successfully be closed by July 2023.