Microsoft buys gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $68bn

Microsoft says acquisition will “provide the building blocks for the metaverse”

Activision Blizzard logo on a phone screen                                 
Microsoft is set to acquire Santa Monica-based game maker Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7bn – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

Microsoft isn’t playing around – the tech giant confirmed it is set to acquire Santa Monica-based game maker Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7bn (£50.5bn) to build its involvement in the gaming metaverse.

Activision Blizzard was founded in 2008 and is the maker behind popular franchise entities such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Candy Crush.

The company has 10,000 staff globally across 14 offices and has a market value of about $50bn. It has been led by CEO and founder Bobby Kotick since its inception.

The move marks the biggest deal in Microsoft’s history and ranks at almost three times more costly than when it acquired LinkedIn for $25bn back in 2016. It’s also the firm's first acquisition since it confirmed plans to take over AT&T’s advertising technology division Xander in December 2021.

Microsoft will offer $95 per share for the acquisition, with the deal set to close in 2023.

Building blocks for the metaverse

Microsoft said the deal would provide "the building blocks for the metaverse”. The gaming sector has picked up impressive pace over the past few year and is now worth more than $200bn, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing forms of entertainment.

Roughly 3 billion people globally play games, although Microsoft expects that figure to grow significantly to nearer 4.5 billion by 2030.

Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, commented: “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.

“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.”

‘World-class talent’

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard added: “For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games.

"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 move marks the biggest deal in gaming history and will be seen as an attempt to trump Sony’s reign in the gaming sector.

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