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In an earth-shattering deal, Microsoft announced today that it has agreed to buy Activision Blizzard.
According to Bloomberg, that deal is valued at about $70 billion. In comparison, Microsoft spent $7.5 billion on Bethesda.
Activision Blizzard has been battling investigations into toxic workplace accusations during the past year. Selling could give current ownership, including CEO Bobby Kotick, something of a consolation. While leaders would still be subject to any consequences of those investigations, they can net a big payday by selling a company that is on a downward trend.
For Microsoft, this gives it access to some of the biggest gaming properties in history, including Call of Duty, which every year releases a best-selling shooter. Then there’s the Blizzard side, which is home to Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. Activision also owns King, makers of the mobile megahit Candy Crush Saga.
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Microsoft could rehabilitate Activision Blizzard’s image by declaring these beloved — or once beloved — properties as being under new management.
According to Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad, Microsoft will have to pay Activision Blizzard $3 billion if the deal falls through or is blocked.
Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer states in the announcement of the deal, “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.” Microsoft expects the deal to close in the financial year 2023.
He continues, “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.”
In a statement provided to VGC, Microsoft noted that Kotick is staying: “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.”
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