China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) is said to have rejected Microsoft's request to have its planned $69 billion purchase of Activision reviewed under a "simplified" filing.
Regulators around the world have been scrutinizing the mega video gaming transaction. Earlier this month the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the deal on fears that the combination may "significantly reduce competition."
The latest report also follows Blizzard Entertainment saying earlier this week that it will be suspending most Blizzard game services in mainland China due to the expiration of the current licensing agreements with NetEase in January. Activision Blizzard and NetEase started working together to distribute the games in China in 2008 and the deal has been renewed several times.
According to the Financial Times, citing sources, the dispute centred on a disagreement over commercial terms, rather than being the result of geopolitical tensions between the US and China. Negotiations to renew the deal began before Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision Blizzard.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick recently said its planned $69B sale to Microsoft remains on track to close in the quarter ending in June.
In October, Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense(CADE) approved the Microsoft-Activision deal without any conditions.
Earlier in September, Britain's Competition and Markets Authority said that it was referring the blockbuster deal for more scrutiny under a so-called phase 2 investigation. The watchdog said that based on the available information, the deal “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition” in the United Kingdom.
Microsoft was given five working days to provide evidence that would ease these concerns, but the company decided not to do so.
Source: Seeking Alpha