Microsoft’s acquisition of game developer Activision Blizzard has been given a green light in China, according to several media reports.
The deal has received “unconditional clearance” in China, after a local investigation found no issues in the merger, GamesIndustry.biz, SeekingAlpha and other outlets reported. The approval would mean China joins more than 30 regulators that have approved the acquisition.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard was first announced in early 2022, when the two companies announced the major $68.7bn (~£50.5bn) deal. However, due to the scope of the deal, many international regulators have launched independent investigations and the deal is still to be completed.
The Esports Advocate reported that China’s decision was not a surprise because Microsoft has a good relationship with China, and the deal would not affect the country’s interest.
China is an important and sizable market for both Activision Blizzard and Microsoft, and the green light in the country comes just a short time after the acquisition received the go-ahead from the European Union.
The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) notably blocked the deal in April 2023, and the Federal Trade Commission in the USA has filed a suit against the merger. Technology company Sony is also a notable opposer of the deal.
A Microsoft spokesperson said of the matter to GamesIndustry.biz: “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.”
Activision Blizzard is, however, having separate troubles in China. The company is trying to find a new local partner after the licensing agreement with NetEase has ended in December 2022. This resulted in a suspension of Blizzard titles in the country, including popular games such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch.