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QQQ   429.05 (-0.48%)
AAPL   169.14 (-0.14%)
MSFT   414.37 (-0.05%)
META   498.19 (-0.31%)
GOOGL   156.53 (+1.38%)
AMZN   182.16 (-0.63%)
TSLA   158.24 (+0.72%)
NVDA   856.97 (-1.97%)
AMD   157.34 (-3.74%)
NIO   3.96 (+3.94%)
BABA   69.25 (-0.52%)
T   16.17 (+0.50%)
F   12.14 (+0.41%)
MU   117.90 (-3.18%)
GE   155.96 (-0.51%)
CGC   6.65 (-0.75%)
DIS   113.72 (-0.14%)
AMC   3.01 (+10.66%)
PFE   25.46 (-0.90%)
PYPL   63.34 (-0.14%)
XOM   119.00 (+0.26%)
QQQ   429.05 (-0.48%)
AAPL   169.14 (-0.14%)
MSFT   414.37 (-0.05%)
META   498.19 (-0.31%)
GOOGL   156.53 (+1.38%)
AMZN   182.16 (-0.63%)
TSLA   158.24 (+0.72%)
NVDA   856.97 (-1.97%)
AMD   157.34 (-3.74%)
NIO   3.96 (+3.94%)
BABA   69.25 (-0.52%)
T   16.17 (+0.50%)
F   12.14 (+0.41%)
MU   117.90 (-3.18%)
GE   155.96 (-0.51%)
CGC   6.65 (-0.75%)
DIS   113.72 (-0.14%)
AMC   3.01 (+10.66%)
PFE   25.46 (-0.90%)
PYPL   63.34 (-0.14%)
XOM   119.00 (+0.26%)
QQQ   429.05 (-0.48%)
AAPL   169.14 (-0.14%)
MSFT   414.37 (-0.05%)
META   498.19 (-0.31%)
GOOGL   156.53 (+1.38%)
AMZN   182.16 (-0.63%)
TSLA   158.24 (+0.72%)
NVDA   856.97 (-1.97%)
AMD   157.34 (-3.74%)
NIO   3.96 (+3.94%)
BABA   69.25 (-0.52%)
T   16.17 (+0.50%)
F   12.14 (+0.41%)
MU   117.90 (-3.18%)
GE   155.96 (-0.51%)
CGC   6.65 (-0.75%)
DIS   113.72 (-0.14%)
AMC   3.01 (+10.66%)
PFE   25.46 (-0.90%)
PYPL   63.34 (-0.14%)
XOM   119.00 (+0.26%)

Activision Shares Gap Higher After Microsoft Levels Up Deal Terms

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Key Points

  • Microsoft agreed to sell cloud streaming rights for all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games in a bid to get the nod from U.K. regulators.
  • The deal has been on the table since January 2022, but executives at both companies are optimistic the transaction will close soon.
  • Investors still have an opportunity to take advantage of the difference between Activision's current price and Microsoft's offer price. 
  • 5 stocks we like better than Microsoft

After numerous delays in its attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. NASDAQ: ATVI, Microsoft Corp. NASDAQ: MSFT finally blinked, agreeing to sell cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to French game publisher Ubisoft. The rights will be in perpetuity, and apply to markets outside the European Economic Area.

That doesn’t mean the deal is done. 

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has opened an investigation into the restructured transaction, with an October 18 deadline for a decision. 

Microsoft announced new details of the Activision deal in a blog post by company vice chair and president Brad Smith. 

If it feels like you’ve been hearing about this deal for a long time, it’s because you have. 

Microsoft Made Offer In January 2022

Microsoft, which makes the Xbox game consoles, announced its intention to acquire Activision for $69 billion in January 2022. Activision publishes the Call of Duty series of games, which are popular worldwide and have achieved blockbuster status. 

The transaction has gotten the nod from antitrust regulators in 40 countries worldwide. Those include European Union countries and the U.S., where the Federal Trade Commission lost a bid to block the deal. 

The agreement to sell streaming rights to Ubisoft was a concession to U.K. regulators. 

In his blog post, Smith said Microsoft has “endeavored to earn regulatory approval for the transaction, addressing concerns when raised, including by entering into binding legal commitments to bring Call of Duty to rival consoles and Activision Blizzard games to rival cloud streaming platforms.”

He added that under the restructured transaction, “Microsoft will not be in a position either to release Activision Blizzard games exclusively on its cloud streaming service — Xbox Cloud Gaming — or to exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games for rival services.” 


Deal Value Higher Now

Analysts now value the deal at $75 billion, which includes additional payments Microsoft is making to Activision due to deadline extensions. 

According to some reports, Microsoft is continuing to make these incremental payments, which are tied to a deal closing date, because it doesn’t want Activision to back out or seek a new suitor.  

In a public memo to employees, “The next step in the UK for the Microsoft deal,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick wrote, “For us, nothing substantially changes with the addition of this divestiture: our merger agreement with Microsoft, closing deadline, and the cash consideration to be paid for each Activision Blizzard share at closing remain the same.”

He added that Activision’s integration management team “is hard at work to ensure we are prepared for a smooth close. 

He also said, “This has been a longer journey than expected.” 

Activision Still Trading Below Offer Price

Activision shares gapped up 1.04% on August 22 following the news. The stock closed at $91.66, below Microsoft’s offer price of $95. 

Due to uncertainties that have plagued the deal, Activision Blizzard shares never formed the narrow trading range that you typically see in a company whose acquisition is all but certain. 

The Activision Blizzard chart illustrates that: You can see a series of ups-and-downs since a big gap higher on January 18, 2022. It’s never closed that gap, but you can see investors’ indecision about where the stock should be priced.

"Not A Green Light"

Given the price gap between where the stock closed on August 22, and Microsoft’s $95 offer price, there’s still room to take advantage of that differential. Investors haven’t yet taken full advantage because uncertainty remains: As U.K. regulator Sarah Cardell said following Microsoft’s revised offer, “This is not a green light. We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the restructured deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments.”

Microsoft stock, meanwhile, closed 0.18% higher on August 22, in lighter-than-average trading volume. 

Microsoft stock has declined 6.17% in the past month, but the stock still has a year-to-date return of 35.07%.

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Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyMarketRank™Current PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Microsoft (MSFT)
4.5885 of 5 stars
$414.37-0.1%0.72%37.47Moderate Buy$430.52
Activision Blizzard (ATVI)
0.5444 of 5 stars
$94.42flat1.05%34.59Hold$94.73
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Kate Stalter

About Kate Stalter

  • stalterkate@gmail.com

Contributing Author

Retirement, Asset Allocation, and Tax Strategies

Experience

Kate Stalter has been a contributing writer for MarketBeat since 2021.

Additional Experience

Series 65-licensed investment advisor, financial advisor, Blue Marlin Advisors; investment columnist for Forbes, U.S. News & World Report

Areas of Expertise

Asset allocation, technical and fundamental analysis, retirement strategies, income generation, risk management, sector and industry analysis

Education

Bachelor of Arts, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana; Master of Business Adminstration, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Past Experience

Founder, financial advisor for Better Money Decisions; editor, stock trading instructor for Investor’s Business Daily; columnist, podcast host, video host for MoneyShow.com; contributor for Morningstar magazine


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