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Saudi Arabia is ‘the first regulatory authority’ to approve Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition declared on Sunday that it has “no objection”
Saudi Arabia appears to be the first regulatory authority to approve Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
As spotted by Twitter sleuth Klobrille, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition declared on Sunday that it has “no objection” to the proposed games industry buyout.
As is typical for this size of deal, Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition is currently being investigated by regularity bodies around the world, who will decide if it complies with competition laws.
The United States’ FTC is expected to provide its answer to the proposed deal imminently, while the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK’s equivalent of the FTC, has set a deadline of September 1 to give its initial decision on the matter.
Microsoft recently entered into a war of words with Sony over the proposed acquisition, as revealed by documents published by Brazil’s regulatory body CADE.
Sony claimed in published correspondence that the huge popularity of Call of Duty could lead to the deal influencing players to switch from PlayStation to Xbox.
At the time, it argued: “Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ choice of console, and its community of loyal users is entrenched enough that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it would not be able to rival it.”
Microsoft responded by noting that while numerous third parties, including Ubisoft and Bandai Namco, gave responses to CADE, Sony was the only company that claimed Call of Duty was in a genre of its own with no competition.
Microsoft went on to state that Sony didn’t want to see Call of Duty games on Game Pass on day one, because it “is resentful of having to compete with Microsoft’s subscription service”.
In its first response to Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard published in January, Sony said it expects Call of Duty games to remain multiplatform due to “contractual agreements”.
Microsoft’s head of gaming also subsequently confirmed his intention to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms once Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is completed.
However, it was later claimed that Activision Blizzard is contractually committed to releasing only the next three Call of Duty games for PlayStation consoles, including this year’s Modern Warfare 2.