Microsoft To Buy Activision Blizzard For $70 Billion In Biggest Gaming Deal Ever
Microsoft is on the brink of buying games developer Activision Blizzard in a deal valued at $68.7 billion.
In what would be Microsoft’s largest-ever purchase, the company is set to pay $95 per share.
Activision Blizzard, one of the gaming industry’s best-known companies, is the developer behind titles including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
Bobby Kotick, the company’s chief executive officer, will remain in his role after Microsoft completes the deal. Activision Blizzard will then report to Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Gaming.
In a statement relating to the deal, Microsoft said:
This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.
On July 20, 2021, Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for its alleged ‘frat boy’ culture, with appalling accusations of discrimination, sexual harassment and rape jokes in the workplace.
The lawsuit was filed following a two-year investigation into the company’s practices, with its female employees, who make up 20% of the workforce, uncovering a stream of abuse and harassment in a ‘pervasive frat boy workplace culture’.
A week later, Activision Blizzard employees staged a walkout in a bid to improve the company’s working conditions.
Kotick has faced pressure to resign amid the controversy, and the company has struggled to adapt to the gaming content demand that increased during the pandemic.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Kotick failed to inform the company’s board of directors about misconduct reports, however, the company said in a statement that it was ‘disappointed in The Wall Street Journal’s report’ and characterised it as misleading.
The company’s shares have been down 30% since July after the lawsuits concerning sexual harassment and pay inequality were filed.
Despite this controversy, the deal is set to go ahead, and if approved, will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company in the world.
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