Activision Blizzard shareholders today voted whether to approve Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of the company, and they approved the deal by an overwhelming majority. The publisher announced that more than 98% of shares voted in favor of the deal, paving the way for the acquisition, although there are still a number of hurdles to overcome before this becomes a reality. .
In an SEC filing, the final vote was revealed to be 539 million shares in favor, with just under 9 million against. Less than a million abstained from voting.
“Today’s overwhelming vote in favor from our shareholders confirms our shared belief that, combined with Microsoft, we will be even better positioned to create great value for our players, even greater opportunities for our employees, and to continue to our focus on becoming an inspiring example of a welcoming, respectful and inclusive workplace,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who is on course to receive a major golden parachute contract if he leaves. the company after the closing of the agreement, as planned.
Although the vote still technically needs to be certified and then reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission, this is only a formality for now. But as noted above, that successful vote — which was widely believed to be so — doesn’t mean Microsoft now owns Activision Blizzard. There is still a long way to go, as it will have to undergo careful scrutiny by regulators, including the US Federal Trade Commission and those in other regions, including the EU and the China. These could slow the deal down or shut it down altogether, as we saw with Nvidia’s recent takeover attempt by Nvidia, which ultimately failed.
Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard in January for $95 per share. The fact that Activision Blizzard shares are trading well below that point today has led to speculation that investors don’t believe the deal will be successful. Either way, the acquisition process is moving forward now and is expected to wrap up by the end of June 2023, assuming everything goes according to plan.
The takeover attempt comes amid numerous reports of workplace issues at Activision Blizzard, including allegations involving Kotick. The company faces multiple lawsuits and also faces ongoing attempts to unionize among its workers.
If the deal goes through, Microsoft would become the world’s third-largest video game company after Tencent and Sony. This would bring massive franchises such as Call of Duty, Warcraft and Candy Crush under its control and would undoubtedly lead to an influx of games for Xbox Game Pass, but it remains to be seen how it would handle exclusivity for these series.
The acquisition vote was actually one of the two, and the other was much closer. The second vote was to approve a plan for payouts to Activision executives in the event of an acquisition. The vote was 357 million in favor and about 190 million against.