Activision Blizzard shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favor of Microsoft’s proposed $69BN acquisition of the publisher, with 98% of shares approving the transaction.
However, there is still a long way to go until the deal is finalized; While Activision Blizzard shareholders – and, earlier this week, board members – have now greenlit the deal, it is still subject to worldwide regulatory review by the US Federal Trade Commission. USA, to determine whether the deal constitutes unfair competition.
If the deal goes through regulatory review, the acquisition has until June 2023 to close, after which Microsoft will welcome back some of the industry’s most recognizable franchises, including Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch and the mobile hit Candy Crush.
However, as Bloomberg reported today, uncertainty remains over whether the deal will be allowed to go through, with some Wall Street investors believing the Biden administration’s antitrust investigators will block or delay the acquisition, a belief reflected at the current price of Activision Blizzard stock. , trading 23% below Microsoft’s offer of $95.
Still, with the approval of Microsoft’s takeover bid by Activision Blizzard shareholders, one more hurdle has been cleared. In response to the news, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said, “The overwhelming vote of support from our shareholders confirms our shared belief that, combined with Microsoft, we will be even better positioned to create tremendous value for our players, including increased opportunities for our employees, and continue our focus on becoming an inspiring example of a welcoming, respectful and inclusive workplace.”
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision comes at a troubling time for the Call of Duty publisher, which remains mired in controversy following shocking allegations last year that it had fostered a company culture in which sexual harassment, aggression and inappropriate behavior could thrive.
Activision Blizzard was described as a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women” in a lawsuit filed in the state of California last July, and CEO Bobby Kotick subsequently became the focus of a damning report that claimed that he was aware of sexual misconduct within the company “for years”.
Most recently, the parents of a former Activision Blizzard employee who killed himself during a 2017 company retreat launched a lawsuit suing the publisher for wrongful death, claiming the suicide was the result of sexual harassment by co-workers.
Events took a more dramatic turn earlier this month when the governor of California was accused of interfering to support Activision Blizzard in the state discrimination and harassment lawsuit that sparked the publisher’s troubles.