Microsoft’s $ 7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax Media, has lifted its regulatory hurdles. Friday, the European Commission (EC) approved the agreement without applying any conditions to the merger. It concluded that the ongoing takeover would not raise competition concerns in the gaming hardware and software development and distribution markets. The decision followed authorization of the repurchase in the form of a notice of effect published on March 4.
Now that it has received the blessings of both regulators, Microsoft can proceed with the acquisition, bringing ZeniMax’s massive game portfolio – including the aforementioned leading studios id, Arkane and Bethesda – under the Xbox umbrella. Microsoft said in its initial announcement that it expects the deal to close in the second half of fiscal 2021, which will mean June 30. The Xbox maker has already confirmed that Bethesda titles are heading to its Game Pass subscription service in the coming months.
The Microsoft-ZeniMax transaction is part of a series of major gaming deals that were announced this year as the era of next-gen consoles begins and manufacturers and developers step up their subscription services. EA recently acquired a specialist in racing games Codemasters, which was followed by Epic Games’ announcement that he had broken Tonic Games Group, the parent company of Fall guys Mediatonic studio. Before that, Nintendo revealed that it had agreed to buy Next level games, the developer of Luigi’s mansion series.