Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard in $68.7bn deal

Demand for video games has surged during pandemic as consumers stuck at home

Activision’s library of games, such as Call of Duty and Overwatch, also gives Microsoft’s Xbox gaming platform an edge over Sony’s PlayStation. Photograph: David McNee

Activision’s library of games, such as Call of Duty and Overwatch, also gives Microsoft’s Xbox gaming platform an edge over Sony’s PlayStation. Photograph: David McNee

 

Microsoft said on Tuesday it would buy Call of Duty video game maker Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion (€60.4 billion) in cash, the largest deal in the sector, making the Xbox maker the third-largest gaming company by revenue.

Microsoft’s offer of $95 per share is at a premium of 45 per cent to Activision’s Friday close. Shares of Activision were up nearly 38 per cent at $65.39 before being halted for news.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Demand for video games has surged during the pandemic, as stuck-at-home consumers play more games to keep themselves entertained.

Activision’s library of games, such as Call of Duty and Overwatch, also gives Microsoft’s Xbox gaming platform an edge over Sony’s PlayStation, which has for years enjoyed a more steady stream of exclusive games.

Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as chief executive of Activision Blizzard.

Last week, rival video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software said it would buy FarmVille creator Zynga in an $11 billion cash-and-stock deal, marking one of the biggest industry-wide acquisitions of all time. – Reuters