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Microsoft Will Acquire Activision Blizzard For $68.7 Billion

18 January, 2022 

Microsoft has today announced that it will acquire games publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Activision Blizzard is the publisher of blockbuster gaming titles like Call of Duty, Overwatch and Candy Crush. 

The acquisition will make Microsoft the world’s third largest gaming company by revenue, only topped by Tencent and Sony. The company plans to add many of Activision Blizzard’s titles to Xbox Game Pass (its gaming subscription service) when the deal closes. Xbox Game Pass currently has 25 million subscribers. 

Activision Blizzard has had a rocky past few months, after allegations from employees of sexual harassment in the company. An $18 million settlement that the company made with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is currently being appealed. 

Microsoft has indicated that Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard at least until the deal finalises, expected around June next year. 

The move could potentially have implications for brands and advertisers. Last month, Microsoft announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire ad tech platform Xandr from AT&T. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but some outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, reported that Xandr was bought for around $1 billion.

This latest deal theoretically adds a lot of very valuable gaming inventory on both mobile and console which could be monetised through Xandr. Activision Blizzard has so far avoided placing video ads in its console titles – but the opportunity would be there, should Microsoft wish to take it.

CEO Satya Nadella, says the acquisition of Activision Blizzard is being done with one eye on the metaverse. 

“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 Nadella,“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.”


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