Microsoft / Xbox Acquire Activision-Blizzard for Nearly $70 Billion

It’s no understatement to say this is one of the largest, if not the largest news story in the history of the gaming industry. This morning, Microsoft announced a deal to acquire Activision-Blizzard, including all of its IPs and employees, for $68.7 billion.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of details to work through on this one. We’ll break it all down below, with all of this info coming directly from the Microsoft and Xbox Press accounts.

  • 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 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 world with nearly 10,000 employees.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.
  • The acquisition bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass.
  • Game Pass has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers.
  • With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse line-ups of gaming content in the industry.
  • Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

Not only does this deal change the shape of Xbox Game Pass, future Activision titles, and Xbox’s place in the industry, but it shakes up the entire global presence of IPs with over 400 million monthly players. Phil Spencer, CEO of Gaming for Microsoft, released a formal statement via the Xbox Blog as well:

As a team, we are on a mission to extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet. We all know that gaming is the most vibrant and dynamic form of entertainment worldwide and we’ve experienced the power of social connection and friendship that gaming makes possible.

As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world. We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.

Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog. We also announced today that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass.

The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own. Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.

As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. 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.

Around the world, there is no more exciting venue for fun and connection than video games. And there has never been a better time to play than right now. As we extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone, we look forward to welcoming all of our friends at Activision Blizzard to Microsoft Gaming.

This deal further empowers Microsoft and Xbox to lead the gaming space. As an industry, gaming continues to grow and is now the foremost entertainment medium in the world. To give you an idea of the global gaming industry’s growth, this chart was provided by Microsoft.


Our Take

As we noted, this is a deal unlike any we’ve seen before. It is truly seismic, and will have an effect on the overall industry for many years to come. There are many questions to be answered and speculation will run wild, but for now, given what we’ve seen from Xbox’s recent support of its studios, this seems to be good news.

We hope with new leadership, Activision-Blizzard can move forward and shed some of the terrible leadership that employees there have reported. This can be a new beginning for the teams there and we hope more than anything that the developers and front-line employees are treated well and enjoy a revitalization of their careers.

As for the IPs, we’re very excited to see what comes down the line for major franchises that have either been stagnant (Overwatch and World of Warcraft to name a couple) or just seem to need assistance with overall development and prioritization (Diablo and Starcraft to name a couple). We can’t wait to see what develops in the years to come.

We’ll have a lot more on this acquisition in the days to come. Stay tuned.

By Seasoned Gaming

Covering the videogame industry with daily content, unique opinions, and as always, no ads or filler.

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