Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been cleared in another country
South African regulator says deal is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition
Microsoft‘s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved by South Africa’s Competition Commission.
In a statement released on Monday, the competition watchdog said it isn’t concerned about the possibility of Microsoft and Activision making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox should the $69 billion deal go through.
“The Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in significant foreclosure concerns as the parties do not have the ability and incentive to foreclose competing game distributors, particularly Sony (PlayStation) and Nintendo (Switch),” it said.
In a statement issued to VGC, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick welcomed the news.
“The South African Competition Commission recommended approval of our merger with Microsoft based on a thorough review of the facts about competition in the gaming industry. We appreciate this additional affirmation from an important global regulator,” he said.
“Furthermore, the merging parties have made undertakings to continue supplying Call of Duty games to other console manufacturers.
“Therefore, the Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant markets. The Commission further found that the proposed transaction does not raise any substantial public interest concerns.”
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard has also been approved in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Serbia, Chile and Japan.
UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is due to rule on the deal by April 26, while the European Commission will publish its verdict by May 22.
The CMA recently said it no longer believes that the deal would significantly reduce competition in the console gaming space, although it still has concerns about the acquisition’s impact on the cloud gaming market.
It has been claimed that Microsoft’s willingness to offer game licensing deals to rivals is likely to address EU antitrust concerns.
In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is suing Microsoft in a bid to block the Activision Blizzard deal over competition concerns.