Microsoft’s proposed deal to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion has now been cleared in yet another country. China’s State Administration for Market Regulation has given the green light to the buyout, becoming the 37th country around the world to sign off.
“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,” Microsoft said in a statement tom Tom Warren of The Verge. “The acquisition combined with our recent commitments to the European Commission will empower consumers worldwide to play more games on more devices.”
Microsoft confirms China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has unconditionally approved its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, making it the 37th country to support the deal 👇 pic.twitter.com/OZ2DRgCAth
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) May 19, 2023
The European Union cleared the deal earlier in May, a move that was expected. What Microsoft was not expecting, though, was how the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority blocked the buyout over concerns around the cloud gaming market.
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are appealing that decision, and Activision Blizzard has hired the lawyer who represented the Queen and Princess Diana.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has said the company does not need to acquire Activision Blizzard to deliver on its ambitions in the gaming space, but doing so would accelerate those plans.
Other places that have approved Microsoft’s deal include the aforementioned Japan and EU, as well as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Serbia, and South Africa, among others. In addition to the appeals process in the UK, Microsoft still needs to get approval in the US by the Federal Trade Commission. A hearing is set for early August 2023.
The $68.7 billion that Microsoft is proposing to pay for Activision Blizzard represents the biggest-ever acquisition in gaming history and among the largest in any business. Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever was LinkedIn, which it acquired in 2016 for $26.2 billion. The Activision Blizzard deal is 2.5x bigger than that.
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