Friday, September 22

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard, makers of “Call of Duty,” “Warcraft” and more for $68.7 billion

With Activision Blizzard, Microsoft would become the third largest game company in the world by revenue, behind Tencent Y Sony from China. The deal is expected to close in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2023 (ending June 2023), subject to regulatory review and approval by Activision Blizzard shareholders.

Activision Blizzard, in addition to its core game development and publishing business, manages a global esports network through its Major League Gaming division. The company has nearly 10,000 employees worldwide.

News of the deal, announced Tuesday, comes as Activision Blizzard has been trying to recover from a scandal in which the company was accused of allowing a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture” to flourish that allegedly resulted in which female employees were continually subjected to sexual harassment and paid less than men, according to a lawsuit from the state of California. Activision Blizzard has fired or “expelled” more than three dozen employees for misconduct since last July, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting entertainment category on all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said in announcing the deal. Activision Blizzard. “We are 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 said that the CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotickwill continue in that position. Once the deal closes, Kotick will inform Phil Spencer, executive director of Microsoft Gaming.

“Gamers around the world love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work ahead of them,” Spencer said in a statement. “Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”