Microsoft has agreed a deal to buy the troubled Call of Duty and Candy Crush gaming firm Activision Blizzard for $68.7bn (£50.5bn).
The all-cash takeover will give the Xbox maker a leap into the mobile gaming sphere and “play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” according to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella.
The deal – if approved by regulators – would make Microsoft the third-largest gaming firm in the world by revenue.
Says Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, in a blog post:
“Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.
“We also announced today that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass.”
Spencer adds that Microsoft will extend its “culture of proactive inclusion” to Activision Blizzard, in a clear reference to the allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination at the games developer.
“We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment.
“We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard.”
The deal makes Microsoft the world’s third-largest games company by sales.
The offer is a 45pc premium to Activision’s Friday closing price. Its shares jumped 38pc before being halted ahead of the announcement.
Today is a historic moment. We are excited to announce that the world-renowned franchises and talented people at @ATVI_AB will be joining Team Xbox!
— Xbox (@Xbox) January 18, 2022