Microsoft's Buyout Of Activision Criticized By World Bank President

"You have to wonder--'Wait a minute, is this the best allocation of capital?'"

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The president of the World Bank has spoken out to express concern about Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. During a speaking event this week that was reported on by Reuters, World Bank president David Malpass said the deal is a bad look at a time when many parts of the world are struggling with debt and other issues.

The World Bank is a global financial group that works to reduce poverty around the world by providing loans and other financial opportunities to countries and places in need. Malpass said the purchase price Microsoft intends to pay for Activision Blizzard is factors more than the latest International Development Association budget to help some of the poorest countries in the world.

"I was struck this morning by the Microsoft investment, $75 billion [Ed. note: the purchase price is actually $68.7 billion], in a video gaming company at a time when, to put it in perspective, the entire IDA20 commitment that we were just able to achieve in December was $24 billion spread over three years. That's $8 billion per year to 75 of the poorest countries. $8 billion, compared to a $75-billion, single-shot investment in a gaming company. And you have to wonder--'Wait a minute, is this the best allocation of capital?' This goes to the bond market. Huge amounts of flows are going to the bond market, and basically that's a very small portion of the world that has access to bond financing."

Malpass went on to say that the rich are only getting richer with this deal and that he would rather see more money provided to help poorer countries.

"In order to address the refugee flow, that malnutrition that's going on, and so on, there has to be more money and growth flowing into the developing countries," Malpass said.

Malpass has been the president of the World Bank since 2019. Before that, he worked in the Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Donald Trump administrations.

Microsoft's proposed deal to buy Activision Blizzard is expected to go through in Microsoft's FY2023, which runs July 2022-June 2023, pending regulatory approval and other factors. It is Microsoft's largest-ever acquisition by a large margin and the biggest video game buyout in history based on the price.

In other news, Sony has responded to Microsoft's move, saying, "We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractural agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform."

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