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Microsoft confirms its Activision Blizzard merger has been approved in China

The Xbox maker said the merger has been granted "unconditional clearance."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 22, 2023

1 Min Read
A close-up shot of the Chinese flag

Regulators in China have approved Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The news was reported by SeekingAlpha and confirmed by Microsoft in a statement handed to IGN.

The Xbox maker said that China's State Administration has granted the deal "unconditional clearance," meaning it has now been approved by 37 countries in total.

"The acquisition combined with our recent commitments to the European Commission will empower consumers worldwide to play more games on more devices," continued the company.

As Microsoft noted, China's approval comes less than a week after EU regulators also signed off on the deal, citing a belief the merger "represents a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation."

It's an assessment that contrasts the findings of UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which blocked the acquisition because of concerns it will "alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market."

EU vs. UK

Those opposing views have placed Microsoft and Activision Blizzard at the center of a regulatory tug-of-war between two of Europe's major players, with the CMA stating that it "stands by its decision" in the wake of the EU's approval.

"Microsoft’s proposals, accepted by the European Commission today, would allow Microsoft to set the terms and conditions for this market for the next 10 years," said the CMA earlier this month. "They would replace a free, open and competitive market with one subject to ongoing regulation of the games Microsoft sells, the platforms to which it sells them, and the conditions of sale."

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard intend to appeal the CMA's ruling

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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