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Japanese regulator JFTC won't block Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition

The JFTC doesn't think the deal will have a substantial impact on the business of Microsoft's rivals.

March 28, 2023

1 Min Read
the Japanese flag in front of an office building
Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Japanese competition regulator the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) says Microsoft's proposed Activision Blizzard merger won't have a substantial impact on the business of its rivals.

In a brief press release, the JFTC said it has reviewed the deal and reached the conclusion that "the transaction is unlikely to result in substantially restraining competition in any particular fields of trade."

As a result, the JFTC has notified Microsoft and Activision Blizzard that it won't be issuing a cease and desist order.

The news comes less than a week after UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) narrowed its "scope of concerns" with regard to the merger, potentially paving the way for its approval in the region.

Another win for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard

The CMA has been investigating the $68.7 billion deal for months, and had initially suggested it would only approve the acquisition if Microsoft agreed to concessions that included the partial divestiture of Activision Blizzard.

The regulator previously feared the move would allow Microsoft to make key Activision Blizzard franchises including Call of Duty platform exclusive, giving it the means to dominate rivals like Sony.

Last week, however, the CMA reached a new provisional conclusion after receiving a "significant amount of new evidence," and now claims the transition won't result in a "substantial lessening of competition in relation to console gaming in the UK."

The Federal Trade Commission and European Commission are still reviewing the deal in the United States and Europe, respectively, but the CMA's recent pivot and the JFTC's findings will likely be viewed as significant victories by Microsoft as it attempts to push the merger through.

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