South Africa may soon become the sixth worldwide regulator to approve the Microsoft-Activision merger, but the country apparently has yet to do so.
Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion merger with Activision Blizzard King has been cleared in five countries, and South Africa may soon be the sixth. On April 17, the South Africa Competition Commission (SACC) published a list of mergers that it recommends for approval, and the Microsoft-Activision was one of these recommended mergers.
In the announcement, the SACC recommends approval of the merger without conditions and notes that the combination of Microsoft and Activision "is unlikely to result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant market." You'll recognize this vernacular if you've been paying close attention to merger talks; it's the kind of terminology that's used by other worldwide regulators like the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK. The FTC has also defined its own relevant market with the controversial "High-Performance Console" market, a designation that has confused key members of Congress.
It appears that the merger has not yet been officially approved by the South African government. The Competition Commission does not greenlight mergers but instead only recommends them to be approved by the Competition Tribunal, which has final say.
The Microsoft-Activision merger has yet to be listed with approved status on the South African Competition Tribunal's website, thus it may still be pending.
It is highly likely that the South Africa Competition Tribunal will approve the merger.
Below is a statement from the SACC regarding the Microsoft-Activision merger:
"The Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in significant foreclosure concerns as the parties do not have the ability and incentive to foreclose competing game distributors, particularly Sony (PlayStation) and Nintendo (Switch). Furthermore, the merging parties have made undertakings to continue supplying Call of Duty games to other console manufacturers.
"Therefore, the Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant markets. The Commission further found that the proposed transaction does not raise any substantial public interest concerns."
South Africa could become the sixth global regulator to approve the Microsoft-Activision merger. The list of territories that have cleared and approved the deal include: