Microsoft announced on Tuesday the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for 68.7 billion dollars, one of the largest video game companies in the world and responsible for well-known titles such as “Warcraft”, “Call of Duty” or “Candy Crush”.
In a statement, the tech giant said the purchase would make it the third-largest company in the video game sector behind Tencent and Sony.
The transaction will be paid for in cash and is expected to be completed this year, once regulatory approval is received.
The acquisition will be the largest in Microsoft’s history, far surpassing the slightly more than $26 billion it paid in 2016 to acquire LinkedIn.
The movement supposes, among other things, an important commitment of the company for the development of the metaverse, just as other technology companies such as Facebook are doing.
“Video games are today the most dynamic and exciting entertainment category on all platforms and will play a key role in the development of the platforms of the metaverse”, explained in the note by the president and CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.
According to Nadella, the investment seeks to promote a “new era of video games” that gives greater importance to players and creators and that makes games something “safe, inclusive and accessible to all”.
Activision has been in recent months involved in controversy over alleged cases of harassment, both sexual and labor, by company executives.
For now, the current CEO, Bobby Kotick, will remain at the helm while, according to Microsoft, which explained that once the merger is closed, the business of Activision Blizzard will be under the direction of the head of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer.
In recent months, Activision’s shares had fallen on the stock market, especially after California authorities filed a lawsuit against it over harassment allegations and denounced a problematic work culture at the firm.
Today, the company’s shares on Wall Street soared more than 30% at the open on Wall Street, once the acquisition was known.
Activision has some of the biggest franchises in the video game world such as “Halo”, “Warcraft”, “Diablo”, “Overwatch”, “Call of Duty”, or popular mobile games such as “Candy Crush”, in which Microsoft sees a great growth opportunity.
In addition, the purchase will give the technology company access to the 400 million people who play Activision Blizzard games every month, which will be added to its Game Pass subscription service.
After announcing the operation, Microsoft shares opened with clear losses and twenty minutes after the start of the trading session in New York fell 1.30%.