The European Commission has cleared the $18.9 billion merger of Activision (NSDQ: ATVI) and Vivendi's (EPA: VIV) games unit on several anti-trust grounds. The EC began a routine investigation in March, three months after it was agreed, but today concluded the group would still face strong competition from the likes of EA. It also brushed aside concern that Vivendi's sister Universal Music Group unit could lead to unfair competition in the licensing of music to games, especially music games, "as competing game publishers would continue to have access to a sufficiently large portfolio of music rights from alternative suppliers". Activision publishes Guitar Hero but it's unlikely future versions of such a title would rely solely on UMG artists as rock stars tend to go with other labels, too.
By Robert Andrews