Microsoft in a major announcement has revealed that it is acquiring Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal worth $68.7 billion. This means that Microsoft will be paying $95 (approximately Rs 7,083) per share for Activision. This would be Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date, followed by LinkedIn, which it purchased for $26.2 billion back in 2016. After the announcement was made, shares of Activision gained 27 percent, with Microsoft’s share falling 1 percent. Also Read - Window 11 update: Microsoft to roll out Android apps to 5 new countries
Under the deal, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will remain CEO during the transition, and the company will report to Xbox head Phil Spencer after the transition is complete. This means that Kotick could be leaving the company as and when the deal completes. Also Read - Microsoft working on a low-cost streaming device to compete with Apple TV
Microsoft in its announcement has stated that it expects to close the deal in its fiscal 2023. However, there is a chance that the deal could take some time to finalise depending on the regulators that will get involved to evaluate the deal. Also Read - Minecraft’s big wilderness update is coming on June 7
Microsoft is getting more and more aggressive in the gaming business. To recall, it acquired Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. In 2021, it completed the acquisition of game developer Bethesda for $7.5 billion.
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) January 18, 2022
After Microsoft completes the transaction, it will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The acquisition will include various iconic franchises from Activision, Blizzard and King including Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush. Apart from these, it will also include all of the global eSports activities the brand used to operate via Major League Gaming.
“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all,” he added.
“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them,” said Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming. “Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”
This acquisition also bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio, which will soon include all Activision Blizzard games, thus making Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry.
After the deal completes, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.