In the ongoing $69 billion acquisition deal of gaming giant Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission has granted its approval. According to a post on the commission's official website, the agreement satisfies the necessary regulatory requirements outlined in their combined handling principle and simplified operating procedures.
Positive Economic Benefits Outweigh Potential Competition Restriction
The commission identified that the potential economic advantages arising from the acquisition surpass any potential disadvantages stemming from restricting competition. The understanding from the joint agreement is that overall benefits have been duly evaluated and therefore, the merger can proceed under the outlined conditions of their declaration.
Awaiting UK Competition and Markets Authority's Final Approval
Despite the approval from the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard's acquisition deal still hinges on the final green light from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA had previously objected to the deal in April, based on fears of Microsoft monopolizing the cloud gaming industry. However, a revised proposal in August that sees Ubisoft securing the cloud gaming rights for all present and future Activision Blizzard games for the next 15 years was met with CMA's provisional approval.
Microsoft's restructuring of the deal, which involves transferring cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft, has alleviated the CMA's concerns. The authority stated that the revised deal “substantially addresses” the issues raised, paving the way for the acquisition's potential final approval.
Pending any unexpected events, a full endorsement from the CMA is anticipated before October 18. Unverified reports suggest this final decision could potentially be disclosed within this week. Microsoft is rumored to be planning to finalize the Activision Blizzard acquisition as early as Friday, October 13, assuming the necessary regulatory approvals are secured.
Clearing Regulatory Hurdles and Committing to Competition
Microsoft has promised to keep Call of Duty accessible to everyone, not just Xbox and PC gamers. It has signed 10-year contracts with cloud gaming services like Boosteroid, mobile operators like EE in the UK, and even Nintendo. But Sony has been stubborn, refusing to cooperate with Microsoft and lobbying regulators to block the merger. Sony has accused Microsoft of plotting to ruin Call of Duty on PlayStation, a game that Sony has confessed is “irreplaceable”.
But Sony's resistance was futile, as a US court dismissed the FTC's case against Microsoft and Activision, clearing the way for the merger to go ahead. Sony had no choice but to make peace with Microsoft and secure a deal for Call of Duty on PlayStation. The FTC did appeal the decision by that appeal was overturned earlier this month.