Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday it was acquiring "Call of Duty" videogame maker Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash, the biggest deal in the sector that would help the Xbox maker become the third-largest gaming company by revenue.
Microsoft's offer of $95 per share is at a premium of 45% to Friday's close. Shares of Activision were trading at $89.55 in trading before the bell.
This industry-shaking acquisition will give Microsoft, and therefore the Xbox brand, ownership over some of the industry's biggest money-making titles, including the Call of Duty franchise. Needless to say, this will be an absolutely massive acquisition if it's approved, eclipsing Microsoft Buy Bethesda from last year and standing as the largest gaming acquisition in history to date.
Microsoft's goal with its Activision Blizzard acquisition is to "accelerate the growth" of its gaming business across all platforms, as well as "provide building blocks for the metaverse." Microsoft has pointed out specific franchises it will now own once the acquisition goes through, with notable titles besides the aforementioned Call of Duty including Candy Crush, Diablo, Overwatch, and Warcraft (including the ever-popular MMORPG World of Warcraft), and more. Classic Activision franchises will now fall under the Xbox umbrella as well, like Crash Bandicoot, Guitar Hero, and Spyro the Dragon.
When Xbox acquired Bethesda, one of the main reasons for it was to bolster Xbox Game Pass, and the same holds true for the Activision Blizzard acquisition. Microsoft has said that it plans on launching Activision Blizzard games as day one game pass titles which means that future Call of Duty games and titles like Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 will be available on Game Pass on day one, assuming the deal goes through before they're out.
The question remains what this may mean for brands like Call of Duty on other platforms. It would be massive if Xbox makes future Call of Duty games Xbox console exclusives, though that would also be leaving a ton of money on the table. Bethesda game moving forward, though, and so it's entirely possible that will hold true for Activision-published titles as well, though specific details on how that will work have not been shared at the time of this writing.
As for what this means for Activision Blizzard's troubled culture and workplace problems, it seems that CEO Bobby Rock will remain in charge until the deal goes through, after which Activision Blizzard will report to Head of Xbox Phil Spencer.