Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to pay a blockbuster $68.7 billion to acquire Activision Blizzard, the gaming behemoth behind Call of Duty and Candy Crush. The move is Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date, toppling the $26.2 billion it paid for LinkedIn in 2016. It comes as the Xbox owner looks to further cement its presence in the gaming sphere and compete with Meta in the metaverse.
“This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse,” Microsoft said in a press release announcing the deal.
Activision Blizzard’s stock (ATVI) was up nearly 30% on the move, while Microsoft’s (MSFT) fell less than 1%.
Activision has been muddied in controversy for months over its workplace culture, including accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment at the executive level. The company announced Monday it has fired or pushed out dozens of employees in the last six months over the reports.
Despite calls to also push out the CEO, Bobby Kotick, the Microsoft deal would have him stay on as CEO during the transition. Once the deal closes, Microsoft said Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.
The deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is the second major gaming acquisition announcement this month. On Jan. 10, Take-Two Interactive announced plans to acquire FarmVille-creator Zynga for $12.7 billion.