South Korea is among countries approving of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, maker of "Call of Duty" and other top video games. The United States and the United Kingdom have not approved the deal. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
SEOUL, June 1 (UPI) -- South Korea has joined the list of countries approving Microsoft's controversial purchase of Activision Blizzard, the largest such contract in the global game industry.
South Korea's Fair Trade Commission said Tuesday it was giving its unconditional approval to the $68.7 billion purchase, which was first announced in 2022.
The antitrust governing body said the deal would not be in breach of the country's relevant laws or pose harm to consumers as the combined entity would not be in a position to dominate the Korean market.
Microsoft is a powerhouse in console and cloud games, while Activision Blizzard is a major developer with gaming titles such as Overwatch, Diablo and Call of Duty.
South Korea is the world's fourth-largest gaming market after the United States, China and Japan, according to the regulator.
"We came to our conclusion after various conference calls with overseas antitrust agencies because this is a global issue," the trade commission said in a statement.
The commission pointed out, though, that other countries might reach a different decision due to the impact the acquisition deal may have on the respective country.
Brazil, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa have given the green light to the acquisition, while the European Union gave it a conditional nod in May.
However, Microsoft has yet to persuade regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority blocked the deal in April due to worries about hurting competition in the cloud gaming market. Microsoft filed an appeal this month.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has also sought to prevent the deal.
If the merger is completed, Microsoft would become world's No. 3 gaming company in terms of revenue after China's Tencent and Japan's Sony.