Today the Commerce Commission of New Zealand cleared the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft.
The antitrust regulator of the island country was one of the few remaining agencies that had not cleared the merger after having expressed its concerns in July. Today's clearance comes without any condition attached, as shared in the official press release.
The Commission mentions that it focused on the importance of Activision games (including Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft) to gamers in New Zealand, and whether Microsoft would be likely to stop competitors like Sony or Nvidia from offering these games on consoles or cloud platforms.
According to a statement made by Chair Dr John Small, the commission believes the merger is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the local market. While Activision's games are popular, they're unlikely to be "must-haves."
While Activision games, in particular Call of Duty, are popular with New Zealand gamers, our enquiries did not find that they are likely to be ‘must have’ in order to compete with Microsoft in New Zealand.
A full version of the reasoning behind the decision will be published by the regulator in due course.
Microsoft reached out to TechRaptor to share a comment on the decision:
We appreciate the thoughtful consideration by the New Zealand Commerce Commission of our acquisition of Activision Blizzard and welcome its decision to clear the deal unconditionally. This acquisition will ultimately benefit the gaming industry and gamers and we will continue to work toward closing the deal.
Microsoft and Activision announced that they have extended the deadline for the merger as the FTC failed to obtain a preliminary injunction in the United States
In the meanwhile, the CMA accepted to sit back at the negotiating table for the UK and is expected to deliver a provisional assessment of the new situation this week.
Elsewhere, most regulators have ruled in favor of the acquisition, including recent decisions by the European Union, China, South Korea, South Africa, and Turkey New Zealand's decision brings the total of countries that officially cleared the merger to 41.