Activision Blizzard, the largest games company in the world, is to be acquired by Microsoft Corporation. According to a press release from Microsoft, the move allows the Xbox maker to capture a portion of the mobile gaming space as well as take part in the metaverse that is about to take shape.
With such franchises as Candy Crush, Call of Duty, and Starcraft, Activision Blizzard is renowned worldwide for its heritage in video games. As a result of its varied roster, the company is able to appeal to a broad audience – from casual gamers to esports enthusiasts.
However, the company has its share of baggage. It was reported in November that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew about years of sexual misconduct claims – including alleged rapes and harassment – but failed to inform the board.
Activision Blizzard Sued
Currently, the company is being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for failing to pay women equally as well as for its “fratboy work culture.” Earlier this year, the company settled an $18 million lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegations of discrimination and harassment against female employees.
Activision Blizzard employees have repeatedly asked Kotick to step down as a result of Kotick handling these situations over the years.
Activision Blizzard CEO Kotick will remain in his position, the company said in a press release. According to Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO, “Once the deal is closed, Activision Blizzard will report to Microsoft Gaming.”
Microsoft also confirmed that Kotick will remain CEO until the transition is completed, after which Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer.
Activision Blizzard’s reputation was discussed on Tuesday’s investor call by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who emphasized the importance of supporting a supportive and safe work environment. “We will need to do a great deal of work after the close to create a work culture where everyone can do their best,” Nadella said.
It is estimated that the transaction will be valued at $68.7 billion. The deal is also subject to regulatory approvals. This is just the most recent in a series of gaming acquisitions. It was announced last week that Take-Two Interactive (the company behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise) would acquire Zynga for $11.04 billion.