At a special meeting today, Activision Blizzard shareholders approved Microsoft’s proposal to acquire the gaming company for $68.7 billion.
This cash transaction values the creator of games like “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft” and “Candy Crush” at $95 per share. But investors fear FTC Chair Lina Khan could cancel the deal over antitrust concerns, which could explain why the shares are consistently trading below Microsoft’s offer. While today’s vote is a significant step towards a successful deal for Activision Blizzard and Microsoft, the deal is still subject to regulatory review. The proposed transaction must be completed before July 2023.
“Today’s overwhelming vote by our shareholders confirms our shared belief that, combined with Microsoft, we will be even better positioned to create great value for our players,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.
He added that the deal would provide “even greater opportunities for our employees and continue our focus on becoming an inspiring example of a welcoming, respectful and inclusive workplace,” which is a wild statement coming from someone who runs a company facing multiple challenges. court lawsuits. for sexual harassment, retaliation and discriminatory practices in the workplace. Kotick himself has been accused of knowing for years about sexual misconduct and rape allegations at his company, but has done nothing about it.
In light of these conflicts, Kotick announced a zero-tolerance policy against harassment and a $250 million investment in recruiting gender-diverse talent (at the time, only 23% of employees identified as female or non-binary). But employee dissatisfaction prevailed.
When the acquisition was announced in January, quality assurance testers at Raven Software, a division of Activision, had been on strike for five weeks. They protested the layoffs of 12 contractors, which came after more than a month of consistent overtime.
“We realized at that moment that our daily work and our crucial role in the gaming industry as quality control was not being taken into account,” Onah Rongstad, QA tester at Raven Software, told TechCrunch at the time.
Raven Software concluded their strike by forming the first historic union at a major US gaming company, but Activision Blizzard did not voluntarily recognize their union, which meant they had to apply for a union election at the National Council on Labor Relations. The gaming giant tried to block the election, arguing that they couldn’t unionize just one department at Raven Software, but the NLRB ruled in favor of the QA testers, giving them permission to vote for union recognition. Voting is expected to take place by mail between April 29 and May 20.
Given the turmoil at Activision Blizzard, Microsoft’s takeover bid appears to be a lifeline. Kotick is expected to step down after the deal closes.