Microsoft Buys Activision Blizzard In Deal Valued At Nearly $70 Billion, Bobby Kotick Staying On As CEO
The Xbox company has acquired Activision Blizzard in the company's largest acquisition in its history.
Following reports, Microsoft has now officially announced it has acquired Activision Blizzard in a deal valued at nearly $70 billion. This is Microsoft's biggest acquisition in history of any type, and it is the biggest gaming acquisition in history by a huge margin.
"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," Xbox boss Phil Spencer said. "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 the deal closes, which is projected to happen during Microsoft's FY2023 (July 2022-June 2023), Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will operate independently, Microsoft said. If and when it does go through, the Activision Blizzard team will report to Spencer as the CEO of Microsoft Gaming.
Spencer said Microsoft will add "as many Activision Blizzard games as we can" to Xbox Game Pass for PC and console, including new games and catalog titles.
Spencer went on to say that buying Activision Blizzard will help "accelerate our plans" for cloud gaming. "Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward," he said.
Activision Blizzard has made headlines of late regarding its many controversies and lawsuits involving its corporate culture and leadership under CEO Bobby Kotick. Spencer said Microsoft is "committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players."
He added: "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."
In its own statement, Activision Blizzard confirmed that Microsoft will pay $95 per share to acquire Activision Blizzard, for a total payout of $68.7 billion if the deal goes through. In buying Activision Blizzard, Microsoft will also take ownership of massive franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, as well as Activision Blizzard's eSports endeavors. Activision Blizzard's numerous studios and almost 10,000 employees will also become part of Xbox going forward, it would appear. Microsoft will have 30+ internal game development studios following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
As part of the buyout, Microsoft shared an image of the "Gaming Leadership Team," with Phil Spencer at the top as CEO of Microsoft Gaming. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who has been in the middle of ongoing lawsuits regarding sexual harassment and discrimination, will remain CEO of Activision Blizzard. Whether or not Kotick is staying on at Activision Blizzard after the deal closes remains to be seen. It's been reported that Kotick will leave Activision Blizzard if/when the deal is finalized.
"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," Activision said.
"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," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. "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."
Kotick said in a statement: "For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games,. The combination ofActivision Blizzard'sworld-class talent and extraordinary franchises withMicrosoft'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."
Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is subject to the standard closing conditions and a regulatory review, as well as approval from Activision Blizzard's shareholders. The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors at Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. If all goes to plan, the deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 (July 2022-June 2023).
This is just the latest massive acquisition from Microsoft, following its buyout of ZeniMax/Bethesda.
Xbox Statement On Activision Buyout
"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."