The Commission concluded its investigation, stating the merger “would not substantially restrict competition in certain business fields.”
Japan’s Fair Trade Commission has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. A press release (translated via DeepL) stated that the merger “would not substantially restrict competition in certain business fields.” The Commission notified the publishers that it would not issue a cease and desist order against the acquisition.
It follows provisional findings by UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which state that the acquisition won’t reduce competition in the console gaming market. The investigation will continue until April, so the parties in question can offer new evidence. However, panel chair Martin Coleman said, “the cost to Microsoft of withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action.”
There’s still a way to go for the merger, especially with the United States Federal Trade Commission filing an antitrust lawsuit to block the same. No settlement has been agreed on, so it will likely go to trial in the coming months. The European Commission will offer its decision on the acquisition on May 22nd.
As for Sony, it still hasn’t reached an agreement with Microsoft on a new Activision Blizzard deal. Its current deal expires next year, but Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan is reportedly only interested in blocking the merger.