Activision Blizzard Stockholders Vote In Favor Of $68.7B Sale to Microsoft

Activision Blizzard Stockholders Vote In Favor Of $68.7B Sale to Microsoft

Activision Blizzard investors accepted Microsoft’s offer to buy the game business for $68.7 billion today at a special meeting. The developer of games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush is valued at $95 per share in this all-cash purchase. However, investors are concerned that FTC Chair Lina Khan might cancel the transaction owing to antitrust issues, which could explain why the stock has been constantly trading lower than Microsoft’s offer. Though today’s vote is a significant step toward Activision Blizzard and Microsoft reaching an agreement, the merger is still subject to regulatory approval. Before July 2023, the planned deal is likely to conclude.

“Today’s overwhelmingly positive vote by our investors validates our shared confidence that, together with Microsoft, we will be even better positioned to deliver exceptional value for our players,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated. He went on to say that the deal would provide “even greater opportunities for our employees,” as well as “continue our focus on becoming an inspiring example of a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive workplace,” which is a bold statement coming from the CEO of a company that has been sued numerous times for sexual harassment, retaliation, and discriminatory workplace practices. Kotick has been accused of knowing about claims of sexual misbehavior and rape at his firm for years but doing nothing about it.

In response to these tensions, Kotick announced a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and a $250 million investment in gender-diverse talent recruitment (at the time, only 23 percent of employees identified as women or non-binary people). Employee unhappiness, on the other hand, has won the day. Quality assurance testers at Raven Software, a branch of Activision, had been on strike for five weeks when the transaction was announced in January. They were protesting the layoffs of 12 contractors, who had been working overtime for over a month.

At the time, Onah Rongstad, a QA tester at Raven Software, told TechCrunch, “We recognized in that moment that our day-to-day job and our vital position in the games business as QA was not being taken into consideration.” Raven Software’s strike ended with the formation of the first union at a major U.S. game firm, but Activision Blizzard refused to recognize their union, forcing them to petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. 

The gaming behemoth attempted to stymie the vote by claiming that they couldn’t unionize just one department of Raven Software, but the NLRB decided in favor of the QA testers, allowing them to vote for union certification. This voting will be conducted via mail between April 29 and May 20. Given the turmoil at Activision Blizzard, Microsoft’s bid to buy the company appears to be a lifeline. After the acquisition is completed, Kotick is anticipated to stand down.