Software giant Microsoft today announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, a game development and interactive entertainment content publisher.
In a statement, Microsoft says this acquisition will accelerate the growth in its gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud, and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.
Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash.
When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony, says the software firm.
It notes the planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios, like Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush, in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming.
The company has studios around the world, with nearly 10 000 employees.
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.
Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.
“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,” says Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of 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.”
“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them,” says Spencer. “Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”
“For more than 30 years, our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games,” says Kotick.
“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.”
Microsoft notes the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review and Activision Blizzard’s shareholder approval.
The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 and will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share upon close. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.