Microsoft Corp. has agreed to pay $68.7 billion at $95 per share in cash for Activision Blizzard Inc., bringing together two of the world’s biggest names in video games.
According to Microsoft, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will keep his job. Activision Blizzard will report to Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, after the transaction is completed. Activision’s net cash is factored into the value of the purchase.
The addition of Activision’s popular games such as World of Call of Duty, Destiny, Warcraft will help Microsoft broaden its Xbox console’s options and better compete with competitor Sony Corp.’s PlayStation. Call of Duty, the gaming publisher’s most popular title, has grown in popularity thanks to Microsoft’s online platform Xbox Live, which allows players to join for multiplayer engagements. The majority of Activision’s games are for Xbox systems.
Founded in 1979, Activision’s Call of Duty franchise is famous for its long-term appeal, opening-week sales, and, increasingly, its Asian reach. The game’s mobile version was released in China in December 2020, and it quickly rose to the top of the download charts.
According to a Bloomberg source familiar with Microsoft’s thinking, the company plans to retain creating some of Activision’s games for PlayStation consoles while keeping some content unique to Xbox.