Chile Approves Microsoft’s Planned Acquisition of Activision Blizzard
The Fiscalia Nacional Economica (FNE), Chile’s regulatory body, has released its ruling on Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition. It’s stated that the FNE approves of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion USD (roughly $93 billion CAD) bid to purchase the major publisher.
Much like other countries such as Serbia, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, Chile’s regulatory authority has approved the deal as it believes it is not a risk of antitrust. Within the full release, the FNE claims that the deal “was not suitable to substantially reduce competition considering, among other evidence, patterns and preferences of video game consumers in Chile.”
In order to come to this conclusion, the FNE gathered data from Chilean players and conducted a consumer survey. Via this analysis, the FNE assessed whether or not Microsoft’s acquisition would affect other developers from competing as well as determining whether Microsoft could prevent other platforms from accessing Activision Blizzard titles.
“In its analysis of horizontal effects, the investigation ruled out risks, considering that in the markets where the parties overlap their activities the limits were not exceeded. market concentration thresholds established in the 2022 Horizontal Concentration Operations Analysis Guide, and that a large number of relevant competitors and a dynamic market were observed.”
Even when solely focused on Call of Duty, arguably the largest brand under Activision Blizzard, the FNE saw no antitrust risk. From a competitive standpoint, the FNE believes that if Microsoft did choose to maintain some sort of exclusivity to the IP, Chilean players could still access and play titles from other major publishers like Ubisoft, EA, Epic Games, etc. However, Microsoft has been abundantly clear that it has no intentions of making Call of Duty exclusive. In fact, Microsoft has already offered 10-year deals to Sony, Nintendo, and Valve to keep Call of Duty in their ecosystems. The latter two have accepted the terms in the event the deal is approved.
In order for Microsoft’s planned acquisition to go through, the deal needs to be approved by 16 countries, all of which will investigate similar antitrust matters. Microsoft has already faced pushback from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its attempt to block the deal. Additionally, Microsoft is looking to appeal to UK regulators which have long-launched an investigation into the deal over antitrust concerns. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have until June 2023 before the deal must be reexamined on the table.