In what is the biggest acquisition in the video gaming industry, Microsoft announced on Friday it has completed the $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The acquisition makes Microsoft the third largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony, following a 21-month-long battle with regulators. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave Microsoft the greenlight earlier on Friday in time for the merger to be completed.
“We love gaming. We play games, create games, and know first-hand how much gaming means to all of us as individuals and collectively, as a community. And today, we officially welcome Activision Blizzard and their teams to Xbox.” Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer shared. “Together, we’ll create new worlds and stories, bring your favourite games to more places so more players can join in, and we’ll engage with and delight players in new, innovative ways in the places they love to play including mobile, cloud streaming and more.”
After making it past the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.K.’s CMA initially blocked the merger over cloud gaming concerns. In a press release on Friday, the CMA said that Microsoft addressed its initial concerns in the restructured deal it presented. The restructured deal includes “the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft” and it “will prevent the distribution of important, popular content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft – from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming.” Despite Microsoft completing the $69 billion merger, Reuters reported on Friday that the FTC remains committed to appealing the decision.
As expected, Microsoft is bringing Activision Blizzard games to Xbox Game Pass. “Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms. We’ll share more about when you can expect to play in the coming months. We know you’re excited – and we are too,” Spencer added.
In an email to employees, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said “Phil has asked me to stay on as CEO of ABK, reporting to him, and we have agreed that I will do that through the end of 2023. We both look forward to working together on a smooth integration for our teams and players.”
The acquisition means Microsoft has significantly increased its first-party studios with the addition of 10 studios from Activision Blizzard including King, responsible for the mobile gaming side of the business.