Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion

Microsoft buys Activision, the struggling publisher of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. The deal will value Activision at $68.7 billion, well above the $26 billion Microsoft paid to acquire LinkedIn in 2016 and Sony” once the deal closed.

Microsoft plans to add many Activision games to Xbox Game Pass once the deal closes. With the acquisition of Activision, Microsoft will soon release franchises like Warcraft, Diablo, Monitoring, Call of Duty and candy Crush. “At closing, we’ll be offering as many Activision Blizzard games as possible in Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog,” said Phil Spencer, Chief from Xbox.

Xbox Game Pass now has 25 million subscribers, as Microsoft continues to acquire studios to boost the subscription service.

Microsoft’s deal comes after months of sexual harassment claims against Activision Blizzard. Last July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for promoting a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” Since then, more employees have come forward with other allegations of sexual misconduct, and the company reached an $18 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September. This settlement is being appealed and reports indicate that nearly 40 Activision Blizzard employees have “left” the company since last July.

Microsoft doesn’t detail exactly how it will approach addressing these issues, and the company says Bobby Kotick will continue as CEO of Activision Blizzard. “As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey toward inclusion in all aspects of gaming, among employees and gamers,” said Xbox chief Phil Spencer. “We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand in hand with treating each person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We look forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to larger Activision Blizzard teams.”

Microsoft’s massive Activision Blizzard deal comes nearly a year after the company acquired Bethesda (ZeniMax Media) for $7.5 billion. At the time, this acquisition brought the company’s first-party Xbox Game Studios to a total of 23, and was seen as a huge boost for Xbox Game Pass.

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