It was huge news when Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion at the start of the year, and the story has only continued to grow since. It’s the biggest deal in video game studio history, but despite the size, it’s “moving fast,” according to Microsoft.
The quote comes from Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. Speaking to French site L’Echo (translated by Wccftech), Smith said the deal is about halfway done at this point. “It’s moving fast, at least fast enough for an acquisition of this size,” Smith explained. “We’re coming to the end of the beginning, and now we’re entering the beginning of the middle. For us, of course, the sooner it is done the better, but we will respect the process.” As of now, the acquisition is expected to complete by June 2023.
Until then, Activision Blizzard continues to be the subject of much controversy. Several allegations came to light as a result of the acquisition announcement, while much of the ire had been brewing for some time before. Employees staged several walkouts in response to how those issues were mismanaged by higher-ups at the company, with particular disdain for CEO Bobby Kotick. In fact, Kotick is being specifically targeted in a New York City lawsuit against the company. It alleges that he’s trying to escape culpability for these issues by rushing through the sale — Smith’s comment about it “moving fast” probably doesn’t help there. A group of US senators want the FTC to review the sale as well so that issues raised by employees don’t get lost in the shuffle.
The acquisition was overwhelmingly approved by shareholders when put to a vote. In contrast, they were urged to vote against a sexual harassment report, as the company wants to do its own internal audit instead. It’s for reasons like this that Activision Blizzard has recently brought on a new VP of culture and a new executive of diversity, equity, and inclusion.