BRUSSELS--The European Commission on Wednesday approved French communications company Vivendi's purchase of US video games group Activision after finding the deal would not threaten competition.
"The commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition," Europe's top antitrust watchdog said in a statement.
The French company announced plans in December to merge its Irvine, California-based Vivendi Games subsidiary with Activision in a $18.9-billion (11.8-billion-euro) deal.
"The Commission's examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of Vivendi and Activision in relation to game software publishing are limited," it said.
The merged company would still face stiff competition from rivals such as Electronic Arts and game console manufacturers such as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.
Vivendi Games, which has 4,000 employees, is already an international market leader through its "World of Warcraft," an online multi-player subscription game developed by its Blizzard Entertainment subsidiary, which has an estimated 9.3 million players.
Activision, based in Santa Monica, California, was set up in 1979 and has become established in North America and Europe with games such as "Call of Duty," the Tony Hawk skateboard series, "Guitar Hero," "Spider-Man," "James Bond," "Shrek," "X-Men" and "Transformers.".
It now has 2,000 employees worldwide and posted net revenues of $1.5 billion for the fiscal year to the end of March.