Today, shareholders of Activision Blizzard voted on whether they approve of the Microsoft acquisition of the company for $68.7 billion. With an overwhelming majority, 98% of Activision Blizzard shareholders approved of Microsoft purchasing Activision Blizzard at $95 per stock. For reference, Activision Blizzard was valued at $65 per stock before the announcement of the Microsoft acquisition, and now, Activision Blizzard is still only $76 per share. Some associates of Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, are being investigated by the US Justice Department for potential insider trading for suspiciously profiting from this jump in value.
Not only are Kotick’s associates being investigated, but the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal will most likely result in a Federal Trade Commission investigation as well. Lina Khan, Chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission and dubbed “antitrust pioneer”, has already blocked a Nvidia acquisition and is currently moving forward with an antitrust suit against Meta. Therefore, with an already open lawsuit for insider trading, the FTC will most likely pursue to examine any other potentially illegal business practices within the Microsoft acquisition. Concerns do arise why Microsoft would invest so heavily into a company completely shrouded in controversy ranging from alleged sexual harassment workplace culture, employee walkouts, fighting the formation of workers unions, to even calls for Kotick to step down.
Alongside the FTC, the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard still requires international regulatory approvals and “subject to customary closing conditions.” Despite this and the potential of a FTC investigation, Activision Blizzard is still confident the deal will close during Microsoft’s fiscal year of July 2022- June 30, 2023. Regarding the support received today from shareholders, Kotick stated:
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.”