China’s State Administration has given its approval for Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This makes China the latest member of a total of 37 regulatory bodies, including the EU and Japan, that have given their approval to this landmark deal.
The approval by China’s regulators, representing a significant portion of the global population, takes Microsoft one step closer to the finish line of the acquisition process. As a Microsoft spokesperson noted in a statement sent to IGN, “China’s unconditional clearance of our acquisition of Activision Blizzard follows clearance decisions from jurisdictions such as the European Union and Japan, bringing the total to 37 countries representing more than two billion people. The acquisition combined with our recent commitments to the European Commission will empower consumers worldwide to play more games on more devices.”
However, the journey is not yet complete. Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard has faced opposition from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which blocked the deal over concerns that it could allow Microsoft to monopolize the emerging cloud gaming market. Microsoft has expressed its intention to appeal against the CMA’s decision.
The deal is also still under scrutiny in the US. The Federal Trade Commission is preparing its ruling, which is set to be delivered in court this August. Legal experts are divided on what the decision will be, illustrating the complexities and potential implications of this massive acquisition.
Meanwhile, the European Commission recently approved the deal under the condition of full compliance with commitments offered by Microsoft. This decision was met with opposition from the UK’s CMA, who expressed concerns that the commitments might enable Microsoft to set the terms and conditions for the cloud gaming market for the next decade. Despite these objections, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick remains optimistic, stating that the European Commission’s approval provides a crucial roadmap for regulators worldwide in understanding how best to encourage and promote competition in the gaming industry.
As the world watches, Microsoft’s potential acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues to be a watershed moment for the gaming industry. It underscores the transformative power of tech giants in reshaping markets, and highlights the essential role of regulatory bodies in ensuring fair competition and innovation.