February 25, 2024

Activision Blizzard acquired for $68.7b by Microsoft

Microsoft has announced today, Tuesday (18) January, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The publisher is responsible for franchises including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush. According to reporters from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, who made the announcement before it was official, the acquisition is valued around the $70 billion mark.

Activision Blizzard has in recent times, been the source of huge controversy related to abuse of workers and toxic working conditions. Microsoft’s deal comes after months of sexual harassment claims against Activision Blizzard. Last July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for promoting a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” More employees have come forward with more allegations of sexual misconduct ever since, and the company reached an $18 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September. That settlement is being appealed, and reports indicate that nearly 40 Activision Blizzard employees have reportedly “exited” the company since last July.

With the transaction confirmed, Microsoft is now the third largest gaming company in terms of revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

According to a statement by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, the planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from Activision, Blizzard and King studios such as Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush, as well as global esports activities through Major League Gaming world along with over 10,000 employees.

According to The Verge, the deal will value Activision at $68.7 billion which is far in excess of the $26 billion Microsoft paid to acquire LinkedIn in 2016.

Microsoft plans to add many of Activision’s games to Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass now has 25 million subscribers, as Microsoft continues to acquire studios to boost the subscription service.

“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,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

According to Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, the publisher will maintain its independent structure until the agreement is formalised. After that Activision Blizzard “will report to me as the CEO of Microsoft Gaming”. It also means that, at first glance, Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, will continue to lead the company during this transition period, as reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier.