Microsoft said on Tuesday it would buy “Call of Duty” videogame maker Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion. According to Microsoft, the largest deal in the sector makes the company the third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.
The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush.
In a statement, Microsoft said that gaming is currently the world’s largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment, with three billion people actively playing today. According to the company, gaming has accelerated the growth of Microsoft’s business across mobile, PC, console and cloud.
According to Microsoft, the acquisition also bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers.
With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry.
“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,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella.
Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard. “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,” said Kotick.
Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.
Shares of Activision were up nearly 38% at $65.39 before being halted for news, Reuters reported.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review and Activision Blizzard’s shareholder approval, informed Microsoft. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023.