Activision Blizzard shareholders almost unanimously approved of the company’s £55billion acquisition by Microsoft, with a staggering 98 per cent voting in favour of it during a special meeting on April 28.
“Today’s overwhelmingly supportive vote by our stockholders 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 our focus on becoming an inspiring example of a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive workplace,” said Kotick.
While this may sound like the acquisition is a certainty at this point, Bloomberg has reported that Wall Street is still in the belief that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could put a stop to it. This is due to Activision Blizzard shares being traded at 24 per cent lower than Microsoft’s proposed £75.79 ($95) price, which has made investors cautious of the buyout’s certainty.
The FTC was originally reported to be reviewing the acquisition back in February, following the announcement of Microsoft’s plans in January. Bloomberg also iterates that even if the deal goes through, the FTC could either delay the deal or block it entirely, and there will also be other governments to contend with.
To date, this acquisition by Microsoft is the most expensive gaming acquisition, eclipsing Microsoft’s previous £5.9billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media, and Take-Two’s £9.3billion acquisition of Zynga. As a result, it’s a legal minefield for antitrust bodies to heavily scrutinize.
If it goes through, the deal will put Microsoft in the ownership of numerous high-profile IP, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, with perhaps the most lucrative of the bunch being mobile smash hit Candy Crush.
The deal is set to close by the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year in June 2023, although closing conditions and regulatory review may see this date changing.