Microsoft says China approves its plan to buy video game-maker Activision Blizzard
Microsoft said Friday that China has unconditionally approved its plan to buy video game company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion.
Microsoft announced Friday that China had approved its plan of buying video game company Activision Blizzard unconditionally, even though the deal is still facing antitrust opposition in both the U.S.
Activision Blizzard, the publisher of many of Activision's games in China, stopped selling them earlier this year due to a disagreement with its local partner.
Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of the California-based game publisher that produces popular titles like World of Warcraft and Candy Crush, has been approved by China and the European Union.
The 27-nation European Union approved the deal on Monday, but only after Microsoft made some promises to increase competition in the cloud-based gaming industry.
Microsoft reports that China's State Administration for Market Regulation has approved it without conditions. However, the website of the agency did not mention this decision as late Friday.
In order to sell games in mainland China, game makers must work with a Chinese publisher. Since earlier this year, Activision Blizzard's popular franchises, such as World of Warcraft and the StarCraft series of games, Overwatch, and Diablo, have been suspended due to a dispute between Activision subsidiary Blizzard and its Chinese partner NetEase.
Blizzard has had a long-standing partnership with NetEase since 2008. This helped NetEase grow into China's second largest games distributor, after local rival Tencent.
The U.S. firm said last year that it would stop most of its games in China when current licensing agreements expired, resulting in a public spat.
Microsoft has announced that its proposed acquisition of Activision -- a deal considered to be the most expensive in tech history -- is now approved in 37 countries. This includes 27 EU member states as well as ten others, including China, Japan, and Brazil. The blockbuster acquisition is still at risk because British regulators rejected it, and U.S. officials are attempting to stop it.