Microsoft announces its plans to buy Activision Blizzard for Xbox

Activision (Image credit: Windows Central)

Source: Microsoft Blog (Image credit: Source: Microsoft Blog)

What you need to know

  • Activision-Blizzard is known for huge franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush.
  • Today, Microsoft revealed that it is buying the entire company, with plans to expand mobile, cloud, and Xbox Game Pass content.

Updated Jan 18, 2022: It's now officially confirmed!

Last year, Microsoft completed its purchase of ZeniMax, which included blockbuster studios like Bethesda, id Software, Machine Games, Arkane, and many more. Microsoft is aggressively seeking to expand its first-party IP operations as it looks to bolster the quality of its first-party games lineup, with its Netflix-like Xbox Game Pass service requiring content like never before. And now, it looks like we may have information on the next big deal about to drop for the Xbox platform.

Reports from the WSJ (via Jason Schreier) claim that Microsoft is seeking to buy Activision Blizzard. Activision is known for franchises like Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and Sekiro, while Blizzard is known for World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. The acquisition would also nab mobile publisher King, helping Microsoft make inroads in the lucrative mobile gaming market — a sector that they're largely absent from outside of Minecraft and Fallout Shelter.

While there's no official word from Microsoft or Activision if this deal is actually happening, it would make a lot of sense for Microsoft, which is sitting on billions of dollars in liquid funds losing value due to inflation. Activision has been plagued by repeated lawsuits following inquiries into its workplace culture, which gives Activision's beleaguered exec team a definitive escape from having to deal with repairing the company's reputation.

A deleted post on the notoriously leaky Microsoft blog seems to suggest Microsoft plans to offer almost $70 billion dollars to complete the transaction.

Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard's net cash. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush," in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.

This is another seismic event for the gaming industry if it goes ahead, giving Microsoft another massive range of potential exclusives for Xbox Game Pass. We'll be sure to update you if and when this all goes official.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!