Microsoft to acquire game developer Activision Blizzard

Microsoft is acquiring Activision, the publisher of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, in a deal that will ‘provide building blocks for the metaverse’

Microsoft has announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion.

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.

The deal 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 growing gaming industry

When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

“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.”

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.

 

Reaching for continued success in the competitive sector 

According to Microsoft, mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95% of all players globally enjoying games on mobile. 

The acquisition 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.

“For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard. “The combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry.”

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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