After Microsoft announces 10,000 layoffs, CWA union endorses tech giant’s multibillion-dollar bid for video game publisher ABK

Microsoft President Brad Smith addresses a media conference regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and the future of gaming in Brussels, Tuesday, February 21, 2023. [AP Photo/Virginia Mayo]

In a letter to European regulators, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union last month spoke in favor of Microsoft’s bid to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard King (ABK) for $68.7 billion. If successful, the acquisition would create the world’s second-largest video game company behind the Chinese firm Tencent.

In the letter by CWA President Chris Shelton, sent on February 20 to Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, the union declared it had entered “a dialogue with Microsoft that resulted in an agreement to ensure the workers of Activision Blizzard have a clear path to collective bargaining if the merger is completed.” Therefore, “Microsoft’s binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company’s workers and the broader video game labor market.”

The letter to the European Commission follows an earlier letter to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last June along the same lines. “We now support approval of the transaction before you because Microsoft has entered an agreement with CWA to ensure the workers of Activision Blizzard have a clear path to collective bargaining,” the union wrote at the time.

Surpassing Sony and Apple, Microsoft would own some of the most popular game franchises, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Minecraft. The computer software monopoly, based in Redmond, Washington, currently has a market value of $1.85 trillion and is the third most valuable company on Wall Street.

Microsoft’s drive to gain a larger share of the global video game market—the industry is forecasted to generate nearly $600 billion annually by 2030—has prompted some of its competitors to object to the deal through the European and US trade regulators.

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