New Zealand Accepts Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Purchase

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New Zealand Accepts Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Purchase

Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved in New Zealand, a potential game-changing deal. However, the UK's verdict is still pending

In a significant move that could reshape the gaming landscape, New Zealand's Commerce Commission has given the green light to the proposed acquisition of Blizzard, a deal valued at a staggering $69 billion. The commission's decision underscores its belief that the acquisition would not significantly diminish competition within New Zealand's gaming market. While franchises like Call of Duty enjoy popularity among New Zealand gamers, they are not deemed indispensable for MS to maintain its competitive edge in the region.

New Zealand Approves Deal, UK’s Decision Pending

Microsoft's pursuit of the high-profile acquisition of Blizzard has taken a momentous step forward with New Zealand's Commerce Commission granting its approval. This milestone adds to the mounting countries that have cleared the deal, now tallying at 41 nations.

The company has expressed gratitude for the thoughtful deliberation of the New Zealand Commerce Commission. The technology giant anticipates that the acquisition, once finalized, will prove beneficial not only for the gaming industry but also for the broader community of gamers. This endorsement strengthens MS's resolve to see the deal through, and its significance is amplified by the fact that New Zealand's approval has broadened the scope of global support.

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New Zealand Accepts Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Purchase
Credit: Thurrott

Crucial UK Decision Left Hanging

However, the anticipation surrounding the acquisition's realization is far from over, as the ultimate determinant lies with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The company's submission of its final arguments to the CMA reflects its determination to address concerns that led to the initial blockage of the deal. Notably, the CMA's apprehensions were centered around potential competition challenges linked to cloud gaming within the UK.

Their path to acquisition has been marked by strategic triumphs. The company successfully navigated a legal battle with the US Federal Trade Commission and secured the endorsement of the European Commission. Additionally, MS forged a groundbreaking agreement with Sony, securing access to Activision games on PlayStation platforms for the next decade.

The Final Countdown:

The spotlight now centers on the UK's CMA, which represents the last hurdle MS must clear to solidify the acquisition. The CMA's initial rejection prompted them to engage in negotiations, leading to a three-month extension of the merger deadline. To evade a reverse termination fee of substantial proportions, MS aims to finalize the acquisition by October 18.

Despite the potential for a new merger investigation, as signaled by the CMA, MS remains steadfast in its conviction that the acquisition will proceed as planned by the October deadline. The journey to realize this momentous deal, announced in January 2022, has been an 18-month endeavor, with the final verdict expected from the CMA on August 29.

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The gaming industry watches with bated breath as Microsoft's pursuit of Blizzard's acquisition reaches a critical juncture. New Zealand's approval has set the stage for what could be a transformative move, while the UK's impending decision holds the key to the acquisition's ultimate fate. As the pieces fall into place, the gaming community awaits the CMA's final word on August 29, which will determine whether this monumental deal comes to fruition.


New Zealand Accepts Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Purchase
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