back to article China becomes the 37th country to approve Microsoft's Activision buyout

Another economic powerhouse has assented to Microsoft's $68.7 billion absorption of video gaming powerhouse Activision Blizzard, with China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) giving the covenant its okay late last week. Reports of the regulator's approval appeared late last week, but it wasn't until the …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    China's unconditional surrender

    I for one welcome our Start-menu wielding overlords

  2. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Can someone explain how this works, regarding blocking a deal? Is this like the EU where it has to unanimous approval? Or a majority vote?

    I can see how the US can block this for US-based companies, but let's say the UK were the only hold-out?

    Alternately, if they weren't US companies and the US blocked it, what effect would that have apart from being locked out of an, admittedly massive, market?

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      You need everyone to approve the deal, what the approval means is that the country giving it will recognise the existence of the new merged company.

      "but let's say the UK were the only hold-out?"

      Then the deal would still be dead, but lets say they merged even after the UK said no, then Microsoft and ActivisionBlizzard would cease to exist as companies under UK law and thus wouldn't be able to do business in the UK, lose all IP protection and all their UK assets would become UK government property.

      But it won't go that far, Microsoft are just making noise to try and change the regulators minds quickly. The buyout deal expires in June so if it is not done by then Microsoft will have to pay ActivisionBlizzard $3bn in compensation, and since AB stock has gone up since the deal it is unlikely they will renew the buyout deal for the same price.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "but let's say the UK were the only hold-out?"

        Then the deal would still be dead

        Really? The Dunning-Kruger wing of the Conservative party would discover just how much control they'd taken back. How embarrassing.

        1. druck Silver badge

          The CMA is not part of the Conservative party.

          And you've really not recognised the Dunning-Kruger effect, if you think allowing Microsoft to create another near monopoly is a good thing.

      2. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

        "Microsoft and ActivisionBlizzard would cease to exist as companies under UK law "

        This is a complete fiction. The only legal scenario for a company to cease to exist, is either the company being struck off for a failure to perform a return (which takes 15 minutes, and costs £13 per year), or for a court to order it. the UK's CMA has no powers in law to close a company down, and unless laws are passed that say otherwise, it's decrees are nothing more than suggestions.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      but let's say the UK were the only hold-out?

      If the US approves the deal I can't see the UK holding out as it comes under increasing pressure from Washington to not stand in the way of what America will have decided is a good thing.

      Not that we're lapdogs or puppets, or the 51st state.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Regulator outreach"

        When the UK's CMA rejected the deal, the BBC reported that industry analysts weren't too surprised. This article notes that one of them said Microsoft

        "simply didn't do the necessary regulator outreach to get this deal over the line"

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-65422187

        By the way, is there some sort of "Euphemism of the Year" competition we could submit entries to? That looks like a real contender to me.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: "Regulator outreach"

          Regulatory outreach? Otherwise known as greasing the palms.

          Though generically the CMA's recommendation is correct. Shoving all of the very biggest developers under one owner is anti-competitive. (Not that I've bought anything Blizz, MS or Activision for about years now - and no intention to do so).

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: "Regulator outreach"

            I don't have any personal dog in this fight either – I've never bought any Blizzard or Activision games, and don't have any Microsoft gaming stuff – but it still seems like a lousy move for consumers. We really do not need more entertainment-industry consolidation in the US.

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