Cheers to Microsoft!
Microsoft strikes a colossal $69 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard and has garnered another stamp of approval, this time from New Zealand. The Commerce Commission of New Zealand’s resounding decision adds another milestone to the list of green lights. With Australia being the sole country yet to make a call and the UK’s verdict still a mystery. The global game of approval dominos gains an extra layer of suspense.
Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted, “With today’s approval from New Zealand, we’re cleared to move forward with our acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 41 countries,”. He said, “We will continue to work to resolve outstanding concerns and bring this deal to a close.”
The Commerce Commission explained its approval of the deal in a statement shared via Press Start. He said “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,”
Unlike other regulatory bodies that emphasized the continued availability of Activision-Blizzard games on various platforms over time, the New Zealand decision didn’t consider this crucial for fair competition.
Commission chair Dr. John Small explained, “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,”
All countries except Australia have made their own decisions on the matter. This year, Australia paused its investigation while engaging with regulators from other countries. This means it will probably wait for the UK regulator’s discussions with Microsoft to finish before they make their final decision.