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Microsoft Buys Activision Blizzard For $68.7 Billion

Microsoft has purchased spent big this week as they’ve snapped up publisher Activision in a deal worth a whopping $68.7 billion. Yes, that’s billion, not million. Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars is nothing compared to this!

It’s a bold move on Microsoft’s part, as Activision has been in the headlines recently for all of the wrong reasons. There have been multiple claims of harassment and misconduct being filed with many gamers and streamers saying they’ll boycott those games in light of the accusations. Weirdly, there’s not going to be a huge restructuring as you’d expect as Bobby Kotick will remain as CEO of Activision Blizzard. He will however report to Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming. Not the wholesale changes that you’d expect given the recent claims and backlash from Activision’s handling of the accusations. Hopefully though, under Microsoft things will be better!

The good news for Game Pass fans though is that there’ll be more games heading to Game Pass! That has been confirmed by Microsoft.

The value of the deal is significant, as are the franchises and companies will come under the company’s umbrella – Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Candy Crush and many more. That includes games that are available on the Nintendo Switch as well as high-value mobile games. I wouldn’t expect to see a Call of Duty port on the Switch though, despite Microsoft’s seemingly friendliness with Nintendo. Some key Microsoft owned titles are on the Switch, so I’d expect to see a few more added going forward. But this isn’t about my love for the Nintendo Switch… no, this is much bigger than that. Game Pass is going to be bigger and better. That’s the big news. Not as big as the price mind you.

Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard

The Microsoft’s Press Release:

With three billion people actively playing games today, and fueled by a new generation steeped in the joys of interactive entertainment, gaming is now the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment. Today, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher. This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush,” in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.

Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95% of all players globally enjoying games on mobile. Through great teams and great technology, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want. And with games like “Candy Crush,” Activision Blizzard´s mobile business represents a significant presence and opportunity for Microsoft in this fast-growing segment.

Game Pass

The acquisition also bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers. With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review and Activision Blizzard’s shareholder approval. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 and will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share upon close. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

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