Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard has received another major approval, this time from South Africa's Competition Tribunal. The Tribunal announced on Monday that it had “unconditionally approved” the deal, which would see Microsoft gain ownership of popular gaming franchises, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
The approval from South Africa is the latest in a series of regulatory approvals that Microsoft has received for the deal. In May, the European Commission and China's competition regulator both cleared the deal.
The deal has won the approval of many regulators around the world. Even the European Commission, which is known for being tough on Big Tech, gave it the thumbs up. Japan also said yes to the deal, despite worries about how it would affect its own gaming giants Sony and Nintendo. South Korea, China, and Brazil are some of the other big markets that have greenlit the acquisition.
But the UK's Competition and Market Authority (CMA) said no to the deal, putting a stop to it in the country. Microsoft is now fighting back against that decision and has hinted that it might just stop selling Activision games in the UK if the CMA does not change its tune.
Still Facing Pushback from the FTC
The acquisition of Activision Blizzard would be Microsoft's largest-ever deal and would make it the world's second-largest game maker behind Nintendo. Activision Blizzard has more than 400 million monthly active players across its franchises, which also include Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.
In the US, regulators are taking a similar strong stance as the UK. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft to prevent it from acquiring Activision Blizzard. The FTC argues that the acquisition would harm competition in the video game industry. Microsoft's merger would make it more powerful in the gaming market, and the acquisition of Activision Blizzard would give it control of a large number of popular gaming franchises.
The FTC says that the deal would make Microsoft too powerful in the gaming world and would hurt other players and customers. The FTC also argues that the deal would stifle creativity and variety in the gaming scene and would wipe out a possible challenger to Microsoft's cloud gaming dreams.
In the ongoing trial last week, Microsoft and Sony executives traded barbs. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said it was Sony that has driven console exclusivity and he dislikes the concept. Sony continued to oppose the deal, saying Microsoft would actively sabotage Call of Duty on PlayStation.