Microsoft to Buy Activision Blizzard for Nearly $69 Billion

Maddy Myers, reporting for Polygon:

Microsoft plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, publisher of some of the most popular games on the planet (from World of Warcraft to Call of Duty), as well as the studios currently embroiled in multiple lawsuits related to accusations of gender discrimination in its workplace, the company announced Tuesday. Xbox boss Phil Spencer will serve as the CEO of Microsoft Gaming and oversee Activision Blizzard once the transaction is finalized.

The deal is worth $68.7 billion, Microsoft said, the largest acquisition in the company’s history.

In a blog post about the acquisition, Spencer said that Microsoft “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.”

That’s a lot of money. Microsoft spent $26 billion on LinkedIn back in 2016. I’m not saying it’s too much — just that it’s indicative of how dominant video games are in today’s entertainment world. Context: Disney bought Lucasfilm — including the entire Star Wars franchise — for just $4 billion a decade ago.

From the perspective of Activision’s board, this seems like a good face-saving solution to the company’s leadership and culture problems. Let Microsoft clean house at the executive and management level. Even putting aside that Activision’s stock has dipped, I don’t think this acquisition happens if not for the recent controversies.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022