Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has accused Sony of “trying to sabotage” Microsoft’s takeover of the company and claimed that PlayStation chief Jim Ryan has “stopped talking” to both.
The executive has been talking to the press this month, as competition authorities in the UK, the EU and the US continue to scrutinise and raise objections over the proposed $69 billion acquisition.
In the latest development, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally found that the deal could reduce competition and “result in higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation for UK gamers”.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Kotick expressed concern that “ideologues” were taking over the agencies, and claimed that Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO and other executives had stopped returning calls from Activision and Microsoft.
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“Suddenly, Sony’s entire leadership team stopped talking to anyone at Microsoft,” Kotick said. “I think this is all Sony just trying to sabotage the transaction.”
He added: “The whole idea that we are not going to support a PlayStation or that Microsoft would not support the PlayStation, it is absurd.”
In response to a request for comment from the FT, Sony said: “We are in contact with Microsoft and have no further comment regarding our private negotiations.”
Kotick went on to state that he was optimistic the Microsoft acquisition would close by July 202, noting that in its fight with the FTC, Microsoft had hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson, who was previously hired by the commission in 2012 to lead a probe into Google.
“She feels like if she is going to have to litigate against the FTC, she will absolutely crush them,” he said.
Last month, Microsoft accused Sony of misleading the EU regulator over its commitment to keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation – a key issue in regulators’ scrutiny of the deal.
SIE CEO Jim Ryan reportedly met EU antitrust boss Margrethe Vestager in January to discuss its concerns over the rival console firm’s intentions.
And in a series of tweet, Microsoft’s chief communications officer claimed SIE had misled regulators in Brussels over Xbox’s commitment to keeping Activision’s flagship FPS series on PlayStation.
“I hear Sony is briefing people in Brussels claiming Microsoft is unwilling to offer them parity for Call of Duty if we acquire Activision,” wrote Frank X. Shaw. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”