Microsoft just made one of the largest-ever bids for a game studio. The company has announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $95 per share, valuing the all-cash deal at an enormous $68.7 billion. The deal would make the combined entity the “third-largest” game company by revenue, according to Microsoft, and would put titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush under the company’s wing. Microsoft plans to add Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass as part of the deal.
Mobile gaming is also a significant factor in the acquisition, Microsoft said. On top of folding King’s phone games into Microsoft’s business, the purchase promises to bring franchises like Halo and Warcraft to more devices.
The buyout is expected to close sometime in Microsoft’s fiscal 2023 (no later than June 2023) if regulators and Activision Blizzard shareholders greenlight the move. The boards of directors for both companies have already approved the deal.
While news of the purchase comes as Activision Blizzard is still embroiled in a misconduct scandal, you shouldn’t expect significant leadership changes. Bobby Kotick will remain Activision Blizzard’s CEO despite calls for his resignation, and will now report to Microsoft Gaming chief Phil Spencer. In a company letter, Kotick described Microsoft’s move as a chance to “further strengthen” Activision Blizzard’s workplace culture and “set a new standard” for inclusiveness.
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