Activision Blizzard stockholders vote to approve Microsoft deal

Overwatch 2

The ink’s not dry just yet, though

The next step in Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard took place today. Activision Blizzard stockholders voted to approve the proposal today, in favor of the acquisition.

According to a news release from Activision Blizzard, more than 98% of shares voted at today’s meeting went in favor of the proposed transaction. The plan announced on Jan. 18 would see Microsoft acquire the Call of Duty publisher at $95 per share.

That’s not the end of it, however. The Activision-Microsoft deal will be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, which has blocked some prior tech deals like Nvidia’s attempted $40 billion acquisition of UK-based semiconductor firm Arm.

Lingering questions

A new report from Bloomberg also suggests that some on Wall Street are anticipating this deal won’t go through. Microsoft’s offer is well over Activision Blizzard’s current share price, which Bloomberg says indicates investors see risk. Antitrust talk also has some investors concerned, according to Bloomberg’s source.

Activision Blizzard has remained a subject of scrutiny since the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed suit against the publisher last year. Recently, a California lawyer alleged interference in the case after resigning.

The publisher also announced plans to move its U.S.-based QA workers to full-time with benefits. Yet a later report indicated that Raven workers, pushing to have their union recognized, won’t receive new pay initiatives. And then there’s the lingering question of whether current Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will stay CEO after the acquisition, either.

It’s all a bit messy, even as the Blizzard Entertainment side has ramped up public-facing game efforts. The World of Warcraft team just announced its new expansion Dragonflight. And the Overwatch 2 public beta is, as of this writing, underway.

Confirmation of whether this deal will close is expected by June 2023, so it might be a while until we know for sure whether it all comes together.

Eric Van Allen