Activision Blizzard shareholders approved a proposed sale to Microsoft for $68.7 billion, the video game publisher announced on Thursday.
"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," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement.
During Activision's special meeting on Thursday, over 98% of shares voted in favor of the proposed transaction.
|ATVI||ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC.||77.86||-0.10||-0.13%|
In January, Microsoft announced plans to acquire the embattled video game publisher for $95 per share in an all-cash transaction. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and the completion of a regulatory review. Upon closing of the deal, the unit will fall under Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer.
The complete results will be shared in an 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by early next week, following certification by Activision Blizzard’s Inspector of Election.
The approval comes as Activision Blizzard and Kotick have been under pressure following allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and retaliation, which have prompted various employee walkouts, lawsuits, investigations and an $18 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Activision is also facing a unionizing effort from quality assurance workers at its Raven Software studio.
In addition, the company disclosed a voluntary request for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a grand jury subpoena from the Justice Department related to their respective investigations into trading by third parties – including individuals known to Kotick – in securities prior to the announcement of Microsoft's proposed transaction.
Prior to Microsoft's proposal, Activision announced a zero-tolerance harassment policy and waived required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims. The company added that it would increase its hiring of women or non-binary employees and invest approximately $500 million towards accelerating opportunities for diverse talent and in workplace initiatives that foster expanded opportunities in gaming and technology for under-represented communities.
Over 20 employees have exited the company, including former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. Meanwhile, at least 20 other employees have faced other types of disciplinary action since allegations against the company surfaced in July.
On Monday, Activision Blizzard reported lower-than-expected first-quarter results.