Xbox’s Activision Blizzard acquisition overwhelmingly approved by shareholders

Step one, check.

Image via Activision

Xbox announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard at the start of the year, and the ball is now officially rolling on the near-$70 billion deal. The first major step has been taken, as Activision Blizzard shareholders just approved of the acquisition.

A press release on Business Wire confirms the affirmation. “More than 98% of the shares voted at the special meeting were voted in favor of the proposed transaction with Microsoft,” it reads. That’s not unanimous, but it is an incredibly high super-majority — far more than enough to approve of the deal. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2023.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who remains in control for now, was predictably pleased with the vote. “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,” he said. In contrast to some of those words, Activision Blizzard has seen a string of toxic workplace accusations, leading to one sexual harassment lawsuit settlement thus far.

The voting results will be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, but that’s not the only government involvement here — a group of senators wants the merger reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission as well. They believe the merger may overshadow some of the aforementioned employee concerns about the studio’s work environment.

That FTC roadblock may also meet some Wall Street investors’ predictions. Based on current share values, some believe the deal is set to fail. Microsoft intends to raise all shares of Activision Blizzard to $95 by the time the transaction closes, a 25% increase from their current $76 valuation.