Microsoft Has Been Cleared To Buy Activision Blizzard By New Zealand Regulator

New Zealand is the latest country to approve Microsoft’s $69 billion buyout of Activision-Blizzard. The decision from the Commerce Commission of New Zealand leaves Australia as the only country yet to make a decision, with the UK’s block still to be navigated.

«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 said in a tweet. «We will continue to work to resolve outstanding concerns and bring this deal to a close.»

«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,» the Commerce Commission said about its reasoning for approving the deal in a statement shared by Press Start.

Interestingly, while other regulatory bodies have focused on the long-term availability of Activision-Blizzard games across multiple platforms, the New Zealand decision didn’t see this as neccessary for healthy competition.

«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,» explained Commission chair Dr John Small.

The news leaves Australia as the only country yet to make a decision. Earlier this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission put its investigation on hold while «engaging with overseas regulator», meaning Australia will likely wait for the outcome of the UK regulator’s negotiations with Microsoft before it formalizes its decision.

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