Microsoft Announces Shocking $68.7 Billion Acquisition of Activision Blizzard
Technology and gaming company Microsoft Corp. announced its plans to acquire game development and interactive entertainment giant Activision Blizzard Inc in an all-cash transaction that is valued at $68.7 billion. The deal will see Microsoft pay $95 per share to buy out Activision, Blizzard and King studios and their IPs including Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush. In addition to the gaming IPs, Microsoft will also gain access to the global esports IP Major League Gaming (MLG).
Microsoft Game Pass will include Activision Blizzard titles in the future
The acquisition will bolster the already large Microsoft Game Pass portfolio. The revealed that Game Pass has over 25 million subscribers and with Activision Blizzard commanding over 400 million monthly active players, the acquisition will boost Game Pass even further.
The acquisition will push the number of game development studios under Microsoft to over 30. In addition to the esports-focused titles like Overwatch and Call of Duty, mobile gaming commands a significant portion of Activision Blizzard’s audience. Candy Crush continues to be one of the , almost a decade after launch.
Microsoft wants to take advantage of the mobile-first gaming audience. It will leverage Activision Blizzard’s teams and technology to bring experiences from franchises like Halo and Warcraft to players’ fingertips.
Controversial Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to retain his position for now
Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he will remain in his position until the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard closes, after which Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming will take charge.
Kotick has been under fire due to the recent controversies surrounding Activision Blizzard. The company by the Californiaby California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), following a two-year investigation. The state of California is accusing Activision Blizzard of discriminating against its female employees at virtually all levels of employment, including on compensation, promotion, assignments, and termination.
The lawsuit accused the company of encouraging a "frat boy workplace culture", which involved male employees drinking and subjecting female employees to sexual harassment with no repercussion. Current and former employees have demanded the resignation of Kotick, but it looks like the Activision Blizzard CEO will retain his position for now.
"As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players" stated Microsoft in its official release. "We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard."