The EU Commission has approved Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of game publisher ZeniMax (which owns Bethesda and several other studios). In the US, the SEC also gave the deal a green light with a Notice of Effectiveness (S-4, which means a merger or acquisition has been approved).
After the deal closes, Microsoft will allow ZeniMax to run semi-independently with its current leadership. One thing that will change is that games developed by ZeniMax-owned studios will be available to play through the Xbox Game Pass subscription. Also, Microsoft will nudge Bethesda to ensure its games are “first or better or best” on Xbox.
“The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the combined entity’s limited market position upstream and the presence of strong downstream competitors in the distribution of video games. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure,” writes the Commission.