Microsoft Corp. announced plans on Tuesday to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard Inc., the maker of immensely popular franchises including "Call of Duty" and "Warcraft," for $68.7 billion.
The companies jointly announced news of the all-cash deal on Tuesday, which involves tech giant Microsoft purchasing the controversy-marred gaming company for some $95 per share. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue -- behind only Tencent and Sony -- Microsoft said in a statement Tuesday.
The deal comes as the gaming industry has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the entertainment industry, and as Microsoft seeks to accelerate its mobile, PC, console and cloud gaming as well as prepare for the mainstream adaption of the metaverse.
"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," Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, said in a statement. "We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all."
The announcement also comes as Activision Blizzard has been rocked by accusations of fostering a culture of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business unit will report to Microsoft Gaming's CEO Phil Spencer.
"For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games," Kotick said Tuesday. "The combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry."
The transaction has been approved by the board of directors for both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, but remains subject to the latter's shareholder approval, the companies said. It is expected to close in fiscal year 2023.