Competition Tribunal approves Microsoft’s R1.3trl purchase of Activision, the maker of Call of Duty

Published Jul 4, 2023


The Competition Tribunal has unconditionally approved the proposed merger, a global transaction, whereby Anchorage Merger Sub Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation intends to acquire Activision Blizzard, Inc.

In a statement on Monday, the Tribunal said the reasons for its decision will be issued in due course.

The Commission said it had recommended that the proposed $68.7 billion (R1.26 trillion) transaction whereby Anchorage, a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, intends to acquire Activision, be approved without conditions.

Anchorage is controlled by Microsoft. It is a global technology company that provides information technology-related services. Its gaming activities are relevant to the proposed merger.

Activision develops games for computers, consoles, and mobile devices and publishes them in most countries around the world. Its most notable content is the Call of Duty series of games, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush, a mobile game.

Earlier this month, the Tribunal held a hearing and it emerged that there some concern from competitors of Microsoft in the console space. They were worried that if the merger went through, they might be foreclosed access to Activision gaming content, in particular, the Call of Duty game (which even though the target firm looks small in terms of market shares), is a popular, must-have game.

The Commission said while the Call of Duty was a popular game, it was not the most popular game. And the merger did not raise any South African competition law concerns.