Microsoft Gaming has just announced that it is acquiring Activision Blizzard in a record-breaking acquisition that will total $68.7 billion – roughly five times bigger than the previous record which was recently set by Take-Two Interactive’s acquisition of Zynga.
The deal sees Microsoft obtain ownership over several massive IPs, such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, and many more. Even IPs that were previously PlayStation exclusive, such as Crash Bandicoot, are now part of Microsoft Gaming. The enormous deal also includes Major League Gaming and Activision Blizzard’s esports endeavours, which includes the Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League.
Controversially, Activision’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, will remain in his position. Kotick has been repeatedly called to resign by Activision Blizzard employees after the Wall Street Journal reported that he knew about sexual misconduct and harassment allegations at Activision Blizzard and failed to disclose them to investors or take proper action.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, however, first claimed that while Kotick remains in his position for the acquisition, it is not certain if he will still be CEO after the deal is done, as Activision Blizzard will now report to Microsoft Gaming head Phil Spencer. Sources close to the Wall Street Journal have also claimed that Kotick will likely leave the publisher once the Microsoft acquisition is completed.
He will, however, be in line for an enormous pay out should he be terminated from his position, according to GIBiz.
For now though, Kotick remains and in an email sent to Activision Blizzard staff, the CEO says that a transaction of this scale may take some time to complete, but that the company will continue to work “autonomously” until the deal is done. He claims in the email that this will happen “sometime in Microsoft’s fiscal 2023 year”, which ends in June 2023.
In a blog post, Spencer says that once the acquisition is completed, Microsoft “will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalogue.” He also reveals that Game Pass has hit 25 million subscribers.
Bobby is now secure in his position for at least 2 years. The biggest “wait and see” union bust effort ever. We press on as if nothing happened. The course isn’t altered over this news.
— Jessica Gonzalez 🤍💙 #ABetterABK #ABetterUbisoft (@_TechJess) January 18, 2022
While this acquisition is big news for the games industry as a whole, Activision Blizzard reputation is still tarnished – with many employees – many of whom are part of the A Better ABK Union – taking parts in walkouts as a result of the misconduct allegations levelled at the company in recent years. You can read more on all those allegations and the aftermath in PCGamesN’s explainer story.