Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a massive buyout of Activision Blizzard, one of the world's biggest gaming brands. According to the company, it will pay $69 billion to acquire the firm, bringing brands like Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Candy Crush into the Xbox brand.
Despite the announcement, the deal is not yet done. There are many steps between the agreement to purchase and its finalization. Microsoft will need regulatory approval around the world. An important step in starting that process came this week when investors in Activision Blizzard approved Microsoft's purchase.
More than 98% of voters said yes to Microsoft's bumper buyout. It is worth noting Activision Blizzard's board has already approved the deal, but shareholder approval means it can go ahead. In a press release, the company welcomes the overwhelmingly favorable 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,” says Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft plans to finalize its deal to purchase Activision Blizzard during the fiscal ending of 2023, which will be June next year. Before that happens, the company will need the proposal to pass regulations in the United States, Europe, United Kingdom, China, and other regions.
If allowed, the purchase will place the entire Activision Blizzard portfolio under the control of Xbox Game Studios. It is unclear what will happen to major franchises like Call of Duty. There will clearly be a temptation for Microsoft to make those brands exclusive to Xbox.