Activision Blizzard | South Africa “unconditionally” approves Microsoft deal

Activision Blizzard FTC

South Africa has “unconditionally approved” Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard.


While courts in the US mull over the Federal Trade Commission’s argument that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard should be blocked, South Africa has become the latest country to wave the deal through.

The country’s Competition Tribunal announced on 3 July that it has “unconditionally approved the proposed merger,” and says that the thinking behind its decision will be “issued in due course.” (Thanks,

South Africa therefore joins a growing list of countries whose respective bodies have given an okay to Microsoft’s deal – others include Japan, the European Union, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

The high-profile holdouts, meanwhile, are the UK – the Competition and Markets Authority blocked the deal here in April – and the above-mentioned FTC in the United States.

Microsoft is in the process of challenging those rulings in UK and US courts. In late May, the tech giant argued that the CMA’s suggestion that a merged Microsoft Activision Blizzard would lead to “less and innovation and choice” for gamers was incorrect. An appeal filed to the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal that month said that the CMA had made “fundamental errors in its assessment,” particularly when it came to cloud gaming services – a burgeoning market the CMA argues Microsoft would dominate if it were to merge with Activision Blizzard.

In the US, meanwhile, the FTC has sued for an injunction against Microsoft, which prevented the company from closing its deal without first being scrutinised by a judge at an evidentiary hearing in August. The verdict from that dramatic court case, which ran from 22 to 30 June, should emerge within the next few days.

Microsoft will doubtless be hoping for a quick decision, too; its proposed buyout is worth some $69 billion. If the deal isn’t made by 18 July, then barring some sort of mutual agreement, its expiry will mean Microsoft will owe a termination fee of $3 billion.

The clock is ticking.

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