Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Deal Hangs In The Balance

It's not news that mergers take a while to pan out. Microsoft's nearly $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard likely won't be approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) until June 30, 2023, if not sooner. But before the deal makes it to the office of the federal agency, it has another hoop to jump through: Activision Blizzard's shareholders will be holding a vote on the gaming industry's biggest acquisition next month.

As reported by, the publisher shared an SEC filing with investors saying that shareholders will participate in a virtual meeting on April 28, 2022, where they will be asked to cast a non-binding, advisory vote on the merger. Despite the nature of the vote, Activision Blizzard heavily emphasized the importance of the shareholders' participation, saying that if the majority of them don't approve, the merger won't be completed. Plus, those who abstain or fail to vote will automatically be counted against the merger. Voting results will be shared on May 4, 2022.

The vote could make or break Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal

The proxy filing further explained Activision Blizzard's board of directors unanimously decided that selling the company to Microsoft is "advisable, fair to and in the best interests" of everyone involved, including stockholders. But the company said the shareholders' vote will determine whether Microsoft will gain ownership of franchises like "Call of Duty," "World of Warcraft," "Overwatch," "Crash Bandicoot," "Spyro the Dragon," and others.

If they vote to approve and complete the merger, the shareholders will be entitled to $95 in cash without interest for every share they hold in Activision Blizzard — the shares are currently about $79 — which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft, thereby stripping it of its public trade status on Nasdaq. Deny the merger and it won't be completed, which means they won't get their $95 in shares. An incomplete merger will spell a "significant" decline in its stock price and force Activision Blizzard and Microsoft to pay each other a termination fee — $2.27 billion from the former company, and around $2 billion or $3 billion from the latter.

Activision Blizzard calling on its shareholders to vote on its merger with Microsoft comes a day after Reuters reported the FTC requested information from both companies with regards to the antitrust review of the deal. It's a natural part of the approval process, and it doesn't necessarily mean the merger will be blocked.