Activision Blizzard, the company behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch, joins Microsoft to make it the third-largest video game maker in the world.
For nearly $70 billion — $68.7 billion in cash, to be exact — Microsoft has agreed to buy Activision Blizzard, the video game company behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush.
Microsoft says the deal will make it the third-largest video game maker in the world, trailing only Tencent and Sony. Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard. Once the deal closes, Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.
“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them,” said Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming in a release. “Together, we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”
The current plan is to add many of Activision Blizzard’s games into Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, which currently has 25 million subscribers. Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries.
“For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard in a release. “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.”
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review and Activision Blizzard’s shareholder approval. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 and will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share upon close. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.
“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,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chairman and CEO, in a release. “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.”