Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced plans to acquire game developer and interactive entertainment content publisher Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) for $95 per share in cash. ATVI), for a total value of approximately $68.7 billion.
Microsoft said in a statement that three billion people now play games, engaging in interactive gaming, and gaming has grown to become the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment. The acquisition will accelerate The growth of Microsoft's gaming business in mobile, PC, console and cloud, and will provide a cornerstone for the "metasverse" business.
Microsoft said it would pay $95.00 per share for Activision Blizzard in a deal valued at $68.7bn, including Activision blizzard's net cash. When the deal closes, Microsoft will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and SONY.
The acquisition would include the iconic franchises of Activision, Blizzard and King Studios, Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call Of Duty, Candy Crush, And global esports through Major League Gaming. The alliance has studios around the world and employs nearly 10,000 people.
Following the closing of the transaction, Bobby Kotick will remain Activision Blizzard's CEO as he and his team continue to focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company's culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, Activision Blizzard's business will report to Phil Spencer, chief executive of Microsoft's gaming business.
Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, said: "Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting entertainment category on any platform today, and will play a key role in the evolution of the Metasverse platform. "We are investing heavily in world-class content, communities 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."
"Gamers around the world love Activision Blizzard's games, and we're confident that their creative teams have the best in front of them," said Spencer, CEO of Microsoft's games business. Together, we will build a future where people can play the games they want, almost wherever they want."
"Our talented teams have created some of the most successful games in more than 30 years," said Activision Blizzard CEO Steve Kotick. Our world-class talent and extraordinary franchises, combined 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."
Microsoft said in a statement that mobile is the largest segment of gaming, with nearly 95 percent of global gamers playing games on mobile devices. With great teams and superior technology, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will enable players to enjoy the most immersive franchise games, like Halo and Warcraft, almost anywhere they want. With games like Candy Crush, Activision Blizzard's mobile business represents an important position and opportunity for Microsoft in this fast-growing segment.
The acquisition will also strengthen Microsoft's Game Pass portfolio. Microsoft plans to add Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass, which has more than 25 million subscribers. With Activision Blizzard's nearly 400 million monthly active players and $3 billion in franchises in 190 countries and territories, the acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse Game content lineups in the industry, Microsoft said. After the deal, Microsoft will have 30 in-house game development studios, as well as additional publishing and sports production capabilities.
Microsoft said the deal has been approved by the boards of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, subject to certain closing conditions and regulatory and Activision Blizzard shareholder approval. The transaction is expected to close in fiscal year 2023, which begins in July 2022, and will add to Microsoft's earnings per share (non-US GAAP).