Saudi Arabia approves $100b Microsoft deal

Saudi Arabia’s regulatory body, the General Authority for Competition, has approved the massive $A100 billion deal, bringing Microsoft one step closer to acquiring Activision Blizzard — the largest such acquisition in the gaming industry.

Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Activision Blizzard is being examined by regulatory and anti-competition entities worldwide on account of the size and scale of the deal.

Saudi Arabia is the first country to officially announce its approval, stating via Twitter that it has “no objection” to the proposal, reports Video Games Chronicle.

Worth mentioning, however, is that the Saudi Arabia Private Investment Fund owns approximately 13 per cent of Activision Blizzard shares, which will undoubtedly benefit from Microsoft’s acquisition.

The PIF also has billions of dollars invested in other entities, such as Embracer Group, which recently stated its intent to purchase many companies and properties, including the Lord of the Rings IP.

The acquisition is being scrutinised in other countries. While the United States and UK are still preparing their statements and findings, countries like Brazil have been a battleground for Microsoft. Asking for opinions from competitors, the Brazilian government opened the floor for comments.

Sony, which makes PlayStations, recently objected to the potential deal, stating that it sees no way to compete with Call of Duty, the popular shooter that Activision Blizzard publishes.

Microsoft, which makes Playstation rival Xbox, fired back, stating that the acquisition would help the company compete, as Microsoft sold 50 per cent fewer consoles than Sony.

Microsoft also claimed that Sony is paying developers to avoid rival platforms, such as Xbox Game Pass, and stated that Sony’s attempt to call for fair competition goes strongly against Sony’s market leadership, which is “forged from a device-centric strategy and focused on exclusivity”.

The consolidation of video game developers worldwide is happening at a faster pace. Embracer is perhaps the largest purchaser, having bought several studios from Square Enix, who sold off its Western studios because it was afraid they “cannibalised” Japanese game sales.

Meanwhile, Chinese company Tencent is looking to increase its investment into Ubisoft, publisher of the popular Assassin’s Creed games.

Written by Junior Miyai on behalf of GLHF.

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