Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $69 billion

Microsoft announced Tuesday a landmark $69 billion deal to purchase US gaming giant Activision Blizzard, grabbing the sex harassment scandal-hit firm as the tech colossus seeks to boost its power in video games.

Merging with troubled Activision will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony, it said, a major shift in the booming world of games.

“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 statement.

Activision, the California-based maker of “Candy Crush” has been hit by employee protests, departures, and a state lawsuit alleging it enabled toxic workplace conditions and sexual harassment against women.

The deal comes as nearly 20 percent of Activision Blizzard’s 9,500 employees signed a petition calling for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign.

“Acquiring Activision will help jump start Microsoft’s broader gaming endeavors and ultimately its move into the metaverse with gaming the first monetization piece of the metaverse in our opinion,” Wedbush analysts said after the news broke.

Microsoft has just marked 20 years of the “Halo” video game franchise that turned its Xbox console into a hit.

Microsoft launched a host of initiatives to mark two decades of both Halo and the Xbox, including a virtual museum exploring key moments in the console’s history.

Xbox remains a key player in a video game industry now thought to be larger than the movie sector, with market research firm Mordor Intelligence valuing it at $173.7 billion in 2020.

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