Microsoft has bought Activision Blizzard, the game company behind titles like Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, and other big titles, for $68.7 billion in cash. The company acquired Activision Blizzard to “accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.”

Microsoft would pay $95 per share for the firm, a 45 percent increase over its stock price prior to the announcement, for a total of $68.7 billion. The transaction is set to finalize in 2023. Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will operate independently until the acquisition is completed.

“Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty,” and “Candy Crush” are among the fabled properties from Activision, Blizzard, and King studios that will be acquired, as well as worldwide eSports operations through Major League Gaming. The corporation has almost 10,000 people in studios all around the world. Microsoft will overtake Tencent and Sony as the world’s third-largest gaming firm by revenue after the deal is completed. This deal will benefit Microsoft greatly in the mobile gaming sector too with Kings’ “Candy Crush” and of course, the fabled titles of Activision Blizzard on PC.

Bobby Kotick will remain CEO of Activision Blizzard, which is a significant financial and positional triumph for him after the company’s sexual harassment and discrimination allegations. The Activision Blizzard company will report to Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming’s CEO, after the deal is completed.

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.”

-Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft.

With plans to introduce Activision Blizzard titles into Game Pass, which has hit a new milestone of over 25 million members, the acquisition significantly strengthens Microsoft’s Game Pass library. This deal will provide Game Pass one of the most engaging and diversified libraries of gaming content in the business, thanks to Activision Blizzard’s over 400 million monthly active gamers in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises. Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, as well as extra publishing and esports production capabilities when the deal is completed.

After the announcement, Microsoft’s share tumbled down by 1.85% whereas Activision Blizzard’s shares gained 25.35%, which is quite a hefty gain from the 6.61% loss that they faced. Sony’s stocks too went down by 14.35%. The deal also gives a boost to Microsoft in the metaverse by adding more virtual reality and augmented titles to their new Xbox, making it more appealing to the audience. With titles like Call of Duty and Overwatch, Xbox may have the leg up on Sony’s Playstation in the near future, engaging with them in a clash of exclusive games.

Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them. Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”

-Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming

Microsoft has been expanding its games studios since last year when they bought Bethesda for $7.5 billion. That deal summed the total number of first-party Xbox game studios to 23, which was a high rise in popularity and boost for the Game Pass. After buying Mojang, which has been a huge success along with Forza Horizon and their other first-party titles, they have been upping the ante. After the deal, Sony might be in trouble and may lose the edge it had on Microsoft with their exclusive Playstation titles.

It has also been found out that due to repeated complaints of harassment at Activision Blizzard, CEO Bobby Kotick reportedly contemplated acquiring video gaming publications Kotaku and PC Gamer.

The information was obtained from a recent Wall Street Journal piece released in the aftermath of the Microsoft merger. The report says that this was an attempt to change the public view and make the publications cover others news to divert from the company.

Mr. Kotick has been eager to change the public narrative about the company, and in recent weeks has suggested Activision Blizzard make some kind of acquisition, including of gaming-trade publications like Kotaku and PC Gamer, according to people familiar with him,”

-Wall Street Journal report

Furthermore, the report states that Activision’s spokesperson, Ms. Helaine Klasky, denied Kotick’s allegation that he intended to buy either journal. Kotaku’s parent company, G/O Media, also declined to comment on the news. A request for a response from PC Gamer went unanswered.

Following complaints of sexual harassment, workplace misbehavior, and abuse, the California Department of Fair Employment filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard in July 2021. Multiple workers at the publisher have left the firm as a result of the allegations, and new reports have emerged, including one alleging that Kotick was aware of numerous sexual assault and harassment charges at his studios and attempted to conceal it.

According to Microsoft, Bobby Kotick will remain CEO of Activision Blizzard, although reports claim otherwise. Bobby Kotick is expected to leave Activision Blizzard after the publisher’s recently announced merger with Microsoft is completed, but he will stay on as CEO for the time being.

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