Microsoft Corp. said it’s buying Activision Blizzard Inc. in a $68.7 billion deal, uniting two of the biggest forces in video games.
In its largest purchase ever, Microsoft will pay $95 a share in cash for one of the U.S.’s biggest gaming publishers, known for titles like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft but which is also grappling with a cultural upheaval over its treatment of women. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will continue to serve in that role, Microsoft said. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, who heads Microsoft Gaming.
Adding Activision’s stable of popular titles will help Microsoft expand its own offerings for the Xbox console and better compete with rival Sony Corp.’s PlayStation. Activision has a long history with the Xbox. The publisher’s largest franchise, Call of Duty, became successful largely due to Microsoft’s innovative online platform Xbox Live, which allows players to connect for multiplayer matches. Most of Activision’s games are published on Xbox consoles.
“This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse,” Microsoft said in a statement Tuesday.