Activision Blizzard shareholders are voting for Microsoft acquisition

Activision Blizzard’s shareholders have overwhelmingly voted in favor of Microsoft’s proposed $ 69 billion acquisition of the publisher, with 98% of the shares approving the transaction.

However, there is still some way to go before the agreement is finalized; while Activision Blizzard shareholders – and earlier this week board members – have now given the green light to the agreement, it is still subject to regulatory review around the world by e.g. Federal Trade Commission of the United States to determine whether the agreement constitutes unfair competition.

Should the deal go through regulatory review, the acquisition has until June 2023 to close, after which Microsoft will welcome some of the industry’s most recognizable franchises into its fold, including Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch and the mobile hit Candy Crush.

As reported by Bloomberg today, there is still uncertainty about whether the deal will be allowed to go through, and some Wall Street investors believe the Biden administration’s antitrust investigators will block or delay the purchase – a belief reflected in Activision Blizzard’s current share price. , which trades at 23% below Microsoft’s $ 95 offer.

Yet, as Microsoft’s takeover bid has now been approved by Activision Blizzard shareholders, another hurdle has been cleared. In response to the news, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said: “Today’s overwhelming support vote from our shareholders confirms our shared belief that we, combined with Microsoft, will be even better positioned to create great value for our players, even greater opportunities for our employees, and to continue our focus on becoming an inspiring example of a welcoming, respectful and spacious workplace ”.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision comes at a troubling time for the Call of Duty publisher, which is still bound by controversy following last year’s shocking claims that it had fostered a corporate culture where sexual harassment, abuse and inappropriate behavior could thrive.

Activision Blizzard was described as a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women” in a lawsuit in the state of California, which was filed last July, and CEO Bobby Kotick subsequently became the focus of a judgmental report claiming he was aware of sexual abuse in the company “for several years”.

Recently, the parents of a former Activision Blizzard employee who committed suicide during a company retreat in 2017 initiated a lawsuit in which they sued the publisher for wrongful death, claiming that the suicide was the result of sexual harassment from work colleagues.

The events took a further dramatic turn earlier this month when the governor of California was accused of interfering in supporting Activision Blizzard in the lawsuit on state discrimination and harassment that kickstarted the publisher’s problems.