Microsoft exec: Activision Blizzard deal ‘moving fast’ toward completion

Microsoft agreed to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion earlier in the year.

Photo via Activision Blizzard / Mergr

Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is “moving fast” toward regulatory approval, according to Microsoft vice chairman and president Brad Smith in a recent interview.

Smith told Belgian business publication L’Echo that the acquisition is moving “fast enough for an acquisition of this size,” but that the process overall is at the “end of the beginning and now entering the beginning of the middle.” Microsoft said at the time of the acquisition it expected the deal to be completed in the first half of 2023.

The deal must endure regulatory reviews from numerous bodies and agencies across the world, including in Belgium, the United Kingdom, and of course, the United States. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission is determining if the move violates anti-trust laws and if it will affect employees that have accused Activision Blizzard of harassment or discrimination.

Activision Blizzard’s various legal troubles are expected to lengthen the process of the acquisition, but there’s no indication they will prevent it. Activision Blizzard shareholders approved the acquisition in April—98 percent of shareholders voted in favor of it.

Earlier this month, the New York City Employees’ Retirement System filed the most recent lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, claiming CEO Bobby Kotick was “unfit to negotiate a sale of the company” and that the Microsoft acquisition serves as a way for Kotick and other members of the board to avoid “liability for misconduct.” This is in response to lawsuits filed over the past year aimed at the company relating to sexual misconduct, gender-based discrimination, and retaliation.

Activision recently settled for $18 million in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit, but it still faces private cases and a lawsuit brought on by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.