Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard, the maker of popular games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft, has received the green light from Japan’s competition regulator. This is a significant milestone for the tech giant, as it seeks to expand its gaming empire and compete with rivals like Sony and Nintendo.
The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) announced that it had completed its review of the proposed merger and found that it was “unlikely to result in substantially restraining competition in any particular fields of trade”. The JFTC said that the deal met the “safe harbor criteria for vertical business integrations” under Japan’s Antimonopoly Act and that it would not issue a cease and desist order to stop the deal.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is the biggest deal in the history of the gaming industry and would make Microsoft the owner of some of the most popular and profitable franchises in gaming.
Meanwhile, other regulators are still reviewing the deal including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the European Commission (EC).
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Whether Microsoft can successfully close the deal or not will depend on how it can convince regulators that the acquisition will benefit gamers and not harm the competition.