After nearly two years of drama, UK regulators have finally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, and Microsoft announced the buyout is official this morning.
The buyout has been in the works since late 2021, when the sexual harassment and discrimination scandal and unionization drives at Activision-Blizzard were in full swing and many corners of the industry were calling for CEO Bobby Kotick’s proverbial head. In November of 2021, the same week the media scooped the story of Kotick’s death threat against his assistant, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer floated the idea of buying ABK, thereby putting an end to the gaming giant’s stock plummets and investor panic over the still-ongoing corporate misconduct. Nearly two years of clearing international regulatory obstacles later, it’s actually happening, as the final hurdle lay with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which had continued arguing the deal was bad for the country.
Of course, the hard work has only just begun, as it’s now on Microsoft to untangle Activision-Blizzard’s pipelines and brain-drain and unionbusting and lawsuits and tanked reputation. There’s also expectation and no small amount of hope that Bobby Kotick himself is finally on the way out, even richer than before with the deal completed. “Bobby Kotick has agreed to remain in his role through the end of 2023, reporting directly to me, to ensure a smooth and seamless integration,” Phil Spencer told workers this morning.
Today is a good day to play. We officially welcome Activision Blizzard King to Team Xbox. Together, we’ll create stories and experiences that bring players together, in a culture empowering everyone to do their best work and celebrate diverse perspectives. https://t.co/KBCESknYYh https://t.co/jTHOeH48Wx
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) October 13, 2023
We’ve been tracking all the twists and turns of the acquisition since the beginning; here’s the whole dang ordeal: