Microsoft seems to have taken another step to competing with Sony for its own game development and has acquired Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash.
Activision Blizzard has been going through a pretty tumultuous period over the last year as a result of multiple reports of sexual misconduct and discrimination. According to the announcement, Bobby Kotic will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, despite heavy criticism from the gaming community at large over the past year.
“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” reads the report. ” Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard: The Details
Microsoft made major waves in the industry with the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, one of the biggest studios and publishers in the industry. The ZeniMax acquisition cost Microsoft a whopping USD $7.5 billion in cash. As a result of the deal, many games from Bethesda’s library made their way onto the popular Xbox Game Pass.
And now the acquisition of Activision Blizzard as confirmed by this Bloomberg report, is an absolutely massive deal in the gaming community and easily the biggest gaming acquisition in the history of the industry. Journalist Jason Schrier echoes the sentiment of many gamers and analysts that this could easily raise concerns of antitrust. The announcement confirms that the Game Pass will indeed be bolstered by the launch of Activision Blizzard games to the service.
“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.”
This will easily raise concerns of antitrust within the gaming community and it will be interesting to see how the other big players of the industry react. Clearly, platform holders and rival PlayStation might have an opinion or two regarding this, along with numerous other major publishers in the AAA games industry space.