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Microsoft Is One Step Closer to Owning Activision Blizzard After Shareholder Approval Vote

A majority of Activision Blizzard shareholders who voted approved the deal, which would sell the game maker to Microsoft for nearly $69 billion.

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Microsoft announced plans to buy Activision Blizzard earlier this year.
Josh Goldman/CNET

Activision Blizzard shareholders voted in favor of the company's proposed $69 billion sale to Microsoft on Thursday, clearing another hurdle the two companies need to clear in order to complete one of the largest ever mergers.

Microsoft and Activision leaders announced the all-cash deal in January, setting the stage to give the Xbox console maker control of one of the biggest video game companies in the world. Activision said that more than 98% of the shares voted on the proposal Thursday were in favor of the transaction. Activision makes popular series like the war simulation series Call of Duty and the fantasy behemoth World of Warcraft

"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," said Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard's CEO, in a statement. 

The move marks the latest twist in the unfolding drama of Kotick and the company he oversees, which has been mired in controversy following accusations of employee misconduct across the company, driven by a "frat boy" workplace culture and Kotick's seeming mismanagement. Last summer, California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company over incidents including alleged discrimination and harassment. That fall, the US Equal Employment Opportunity accused it of violating the civil rights of employees, subjecting them to sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. Activision Blizzard quickly settled with the EEOC for $18 million

Microsoft and Activision have said they plan to complete the transaction by next summer, following regulatory scrutiny from various governments, including the US Federal Trade Commission.