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Microsoft's Activision acquisition approved by Japanese regulator

Japan Fair Trade Commission does not believe merger would "substantially restrain competition"

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Japan is the latest market to approve Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The decision was announced in a new statement from the Japan Fair Trade Commission, the regulator responsible for evaluating this deal, its potential impact in Japan, and whether it violates the nation's Anti-Monopoly Act.

Having completed its examination of the deal, the JFTC has said it will not be issuing a cease and desist order against Microsft and Activision Blizzard, as the merger will not "substantially restrain competition in a certain field of trade."

In VGC's translation of the document explaining its decision, the regulator said the integration of Activision Blizzard into Microsoft "falls under the safe harbour criteria for vertical business combinations."

The JFTC added that it does not believe the acquisition would not cause supply constraints on other platforms, adding: "There are competing businesses, and games are distributed in digital format, so it is unlikely that there will be a shortage of supply capacity."

Japan joins the growing list of markets that have approved Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, following similar decisions last year by regulators in Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia.

Microsoft faces tougher scrutiny from regulators in the EU, UK and US, all of which have conducted in-depth investigations into the impact of this deal.

The US Federal Trade Commission issued a legal complaint back in December, with a court hearing scheduled for August. The European Commission issued a formal antitrust warning, and is expected to make its final decision by May 22, 2023.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority also expressed concerns in its provisional findings. However, last week it revised these findings as it no longer believes the merger will impact competition in the console space, deeming it to be "signficantly loss-making under any plausible scenario" for Microsoft to make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox.

The CMA is still concerned about competition in the cloud gaming and subscriptions spaces and is due to make its final decision by April 26.

You can find out more about the regulatory hurdles the Microsoft-Activison deal faces in our extensive guide.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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