Microsoft to defend Activision deal at EU hearing on Feb. 21

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(Reuters) – Microsoft (MSFT.O) will make a last-ditch effort to defend its $69 billion bid for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) in front of EU and national antitrust officials at a closed hearing on Feb. 21, the U.S. software company said on Tuesday.

The company asked for the hearing after receiving a statement of objections from the European Commission warning about the possible anti-competitive effects of the deal.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the oral hearing.

The Xbox maker announced the Activision Blizzard acquisition in January last year to help it compete better with leaders Tencent (0700.HK) and Sony (6758.T), but has run into regulatory headwinds in Europe, Britain and the United States.

Microsoft is expected to offer remedies after the hearing.

It has reached a 10-year deal with Nintendo (7974.T) to make “Call of Duty” available on Nintendo consoles, a remedy aimed at convincing competition enforcers but which has been criticised by Sony, which wants the deal to be blocked.

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