The Commerce Commission of New Zealand told Press Start in a statement: “In reaching its decision, the Commission focused on the importance of Activision games (such as Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft) to New Zealand gamers, and whether Microsoft would be likely to stop rivals like Sony and NVIDIA from offering those games on consoles and on cloud platforms.”
Microsoft added in a statement supplied to VGC: “We appreciate the thoughtful consideration by the New Zealand Commerce Commission of our acquisition of Activision Blizzard and welcome its decision to clear the deal unconditionally. This acquisition will ultimately benefit the gaming industry and gamers and we will continue to work toward closing the deal.”
Commerce Commission chair Dr John Stall explained that, “while Activision games, in particular Call of Duty, are popular with New Zealand gamers, our enquiries did not find that they are likely to be ‘must have’ in order to compete with Microsoft in New Zealand.”
Last month, Microsoft and Activision agreed to extend their merger agreement until October 18, 2023. The move came after their initial self-imposed deadline to complete the $69 billion deal expired.
The European Commission approved the transaction in May, and last month Microsoft won a court case in the United States with antirust regulator the Federal Trade Commission, paving the way for the deal to close.
“With today’s approval from New Zealand, we’re cleared to move forward with our acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 41 countries,” Microsoft president Brad Smith wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to work to resolve outstanding concerns and bring this deal to a close.”
The UK’s CMA extended the deadline for its final decision on the deal until August 29 so that it could consider a fresh proposal from Microsoft.