Xbox Bethesda

SEC and the European Commission approve of Microsoft’s ZeniMax acquisition

Both the European Commission and the US Securities & Exchange Commission has approved of Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax – Bethesda’s parent company.

The SEC published a Note of Effectiveness on Thursday, as spotted by NME – confirming that the SEC has concluded that the deal can go ahead, after investigating the two companies. In a legal document posted alongside the Note of Effectiveness, the SEC confirms the details of the deal – including the $7.5 billion price tag.

The European Commission has also approved the deal, updating the case on their website. The page lists the Commission’s decision as coming under Article 6(1)(b), meaning non-opposition.

“The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of ZeniMax Media Inc. by Microsoft Corporation” said the EU in a statement.

“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.”

Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Zenimax back in September last year, just before it opened pre-orders for the Xbox Series consoles. The deal will grant Microsoft ownership of Zenimax and all its subsidiaries, giving the company ownership of enormous gaming IPs such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout (Bethesda) and Doom (id Software).

This has prompted some speculation that future entries in these franchises might be Xbox exclusives. The company has said it will make these decisions on a ‘case by case basis,’ and is choosing to honour existing exclusivity deals with Sony – Such as Arkane Studios’ (a ZeniMax subsidiary) upcoming PS5 title Deathloop.

What seems certain, however, is that these franchises will be folded into Microsoft’s Game Pass service.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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