Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire Activision Blizzard, the company confirmed today.
Sarah E. Needleman with the Wall Street Journal broke the news this morning, and said outlet sources said the Xbox maker was approaching an agreement to buy the Call of Duty company.
Six minutes later Bloomberg's Dina Bass put a dollar number on it, sources say the value of the deal is nearly $ 70 billion.
That's a significant premium over Activision Blizzard's nearly $ 51 billion market value, but like many gaming devices, the share price of Call of Duty and the World of Warcraft publisher has been declining over the past year. Activision Blizzard has also been the subject of huge public criticism since a lawsuit in July by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleged widespread gender discrimination at the publisher.
Microsoft quickly confirmed that the deal had been signed, putting a price point of $ 68.7 billion on the deal, with a deal of $ 95 per share.
"This acquisition will accelerate the growth of Microsoft's gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the meta-verse," the company said.
Microsoft added that the addition of Activision Blizzard would make it the world's third largest gaming company in terms of revenue, after Tencent and Sony alone.
"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 Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella. "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 secure, inclusive and accessible to all."
In November, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer sent an e-mail to employees saying that Microsoft's management was "disturbed and deeply disturbed" by what was happening at Activision Blizzard, adding that he "evaluated all aspects of our relationship. to Activision Blizzard and made ongoing proactive adjustments. "
Microsoft has said that Activision Blizzard's CEO, Bobby Kotick, will continue to work in that position, but will report to Spencer after the agreement expires.
"With Activision Blizzard's nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and $ 3 billion franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry," Microsoft said in the announcement of the agreement. .
Microsoft did not say whether Activision Blizzard's franchise will be made exclusive to Xbox platforms.
"When we're done, we'll be offering as many Activision Blizzard games as we can in Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard's incredible catalog," Spencer said in a blog post. "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."
When Microsoft entered into an agreement to acquire Bethesda in 2020, Spencer insisted it was not done to keep the Skyrim manufacturer's games away from other companies. Within a week of the final closure of the deal, however, Spencer spoke differently about it, saying, "this is about delivering amazing exclusive games to you that are broadcast on platforms where Game Pass exists."
Spencer's remarks also alluded to the scandals surrounding Activision Blizzard and Kotick itself, saying: "As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey of inclusion in all aspects of gaming, among both employees and players. We deeply value individual study cultures. We also believe that creative success and independence go hand in hand with treating every person with dignity and respect.We hold all teams and all leaders to this commitment.We look forward to expanding our culture of proactive inclusion to the amazing teams across Activision Blizzard. "
This story will be updated with further details as they become available.