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Official Microsoft and Activision Blizzard Announcements on Acquisition

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We have two official announcements surrounding the giant, almost $70 billion, Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard from both sides, starting with Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer issuing a statement on Xbox Wire, focuisng on Game Pass additions and cloud gaming:

Microsoft LogoMicrosoft (Source)

As a team, we are on a mission to extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet. We all know that gaming is the most vibrant and dynamic form of entertainment worldwide and we’ve experienced the power of social connection and friendship that gaming makes possible.

As we pursue that mission, it is incredibly exciting to announce that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world. We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.

Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog. We also announced today that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass.

The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own. Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.

As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard.

Around the world, there is no more exciting venue for fun and connection than video games. And there has never been a better time to play than right now. As we extend the joy and community of gaming to everyone, we look forward to welcoming all of our friends at Activision Blizzard to Microsoft Gaming.

MicrosoftGamingGLT_118.jpg

And Activision Blizzard had a similar press release, focusing a little more on the financials:

Blizzard LogoActivision Blizzard (Source)

REDMOND, Wash. and SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- With three billion people actively playing games today, and fueled by a new generation steeped in the joys of interactive entertainment, gaming is now the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment. Today, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher. 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 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. 

Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company's culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. "We're investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all."

"Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them," said Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming. "Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want."

"For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games," said Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard. "The combination of Activision Blizzard's world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft's technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry."

Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95% of all players globally enjoying games on mobile. Through great teams and great technology, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like "Halo" and "Warcraft," virtually anywhere they want. And with games like "Candy Crush," Activision Blizzard´s mobile business represents a significant presence and opportunity for Microsoft in this fast-growing segment.

The acquisition also bolsters Microsoft's Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers. With Activision Blizzard's nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review and Activision Blizzard's shareholder approval. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 and will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share upon close. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

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What I don't get is why MS would buy ABK, knowing the legal headache they're acquiring, yet allow Bobby Kotick to stick around, since he's the guy who's allowed all that to fester...and has had his own legal/ethical issues with inappropriate behavior? ABK shareholders want him gone and have filed a lawsuit to have him kicked, IIRC? Did the guys at MS not take any of this into consideration when they were negotiating the buy?  If I'd been involved, Kotick's exit would have to have been part of the deal, since he's obviously not the guy to lead ABK out of this mess he led it into.

Just my opinion and it may or may not be worth the proverbial 2 cents...

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14 minutes ago, Danthalas said:

What I don't get is why MS would buy ABK, knowing the legal headache they're acquiring, yet allow Bobby Kotick to stick around, since he's the guy who's allowed all that to fester...and has had his own legal/ethical issues with inappropriate behavior? ABK shareholders want him gone and have filed a lawsuit to have him kicked, IIRC? Did the guys at MS not take any of this into consideration when they were negotiating the buy?  If I'd been involved, Kotick's exit would have to have been part of the deal, since he's obviously not the guy to lead ABK out of this mess he led it into.

Just my opinion and it may or may not be worth the proverbial 2 cents...

A group of activist shareholders with a tiny percentage of shares want him gone. The board doesn't give a *filtered* because Kotick is still making them money. The stock dropped not so much because of the legal issues but because of the quarter report showing an empty slate for Blizzard.

Edited by Nym85
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13 minutes ago, Nym85 said:

A group of activist shareholders with a tiny percentage of shares want him gone. The board doesn't give a *filtered* because Kotick is still making them money. The stock dropped not so much because of the legal issues but because of the quarter report showing an empty slate for Blizzard.

Even small groups of shareholders can make a big stink.  Not saying that will necessarily be the case here, but...

The sale announcement with the terms allowing Kotick to stay on was a kind of a shock after MS made the statement in the Fall about reevaluating MS's relationship with ABK in light of ABK not getting its house in order.  Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, though.

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1 hour ago, Danthalas said:

What I don't get is why MS would buy ABK, knowing the legal headache they're acquiring, yet allow Bobby Kotick to stick around, since he's the guy who's allowed all that to fester...and has had his own legal/ethical issues with inappropriate behavior? ABK shareholders want him gone and have filed a lawsuit to have him kicked, IIRC? Did the guys at MS not take any of this into consideration when they were negotiating the buy?  If I'd been involved, Kotick's exit would have to have been part of the deal, since he's obviously not the guy to lead ABK out of this mess he led it into.

Just my opinion and it may or may not be worth the proverbial 2 cents...

With the buyout not being completed until mid-2023 I'm guessing MS doesn't have the ability to get rid of Kotick. We'll see what happens when it's finalized...I'm guessing he'll be shown the door at that time.

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1 hour ago, Danthalas said:

Even small groups of shareholders can make a big stink.  Not saying that will necessarily be the case here, but...

The sale announcement with the terms allowing Kotick to stay on was a kind of a shock after MS made the statement in the Fall about reevaluating MS's relationship with ABK in light of ABK not getting its house in order.  Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, though.

Kotick is good at one thing and that's not making games. Corporate politics.

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29 minutes ago, Calysia said:

I'm guessing he'll be shown the door at that time

Nope. It was confirmed that he stays

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1 hour ago, Danthalas said:

What I don't get is why MS would buy ABK, knowing the legal headache they're acquiring, yet allow Bobby Kotick to stick around

Kotick is rich and he's good at making money. No corporation is going to just get rid of him that easily, or he might not let them. Now, if he's going to stay after the deal is fully approved is another question. There is some possibility he could remain in some other role.

Edited by Arcling

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I'm sure part of the deal will be settling all the outstanding lawsuits before the deal is finalized.  It could take over a year to finalize all of this given the fact that both companies are global and will have to comply with laws about anti-trust, mergers etc in multiple countries.

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2 hours ago, Danthalas said:

What I don't get is why MS would buy ABK, knowing the legal headache they're acquiring, yet allow Bobby Kotick to stick around, since he's the guy who's allowed all that to fester...and has had his own legal/ethical issues with inappropriate behavior? ABK shareholders want him gone and have filed a lawsuit to have him kicked, IIRC? Did the guys at MS not take any of this into consideration when they were negotiating the buy?  If I'd been involved, Kotick's exit would have to have been part of the deal, since he's obviously not the guy to lead ABK out of this mess he led it into.

Just my opinion and it may or may not be worth the proverbial 2 cents...

What makes you think the legal headaches isn't what allowed them to do this likely so cheaply? I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard were saying no for a while and this legal problem is what changed their minds about it, so i will not be shocked if this was a coordinated plan to get them to agree to it and i won't be shocked if the legal headaches just suddenly disappear.

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10 minutes ago, Lithari said:

What makes you think the legal headaches isn't what allowed them to do this likely so cheaply? I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard were saying no for a while and this legal problem is what changed their minds about it, so i will not be shocked if this was a coordinated plan to get them to agree to it and i won't be shocked if the legal headaches just suddenly disappear.

You think that's cheap?

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3 hours ago, Danthalas said:

What I don't get is why MS would buy ABK, knowing the legal headache they're acquiring, yet allow Bobby Kotick to stick around, since he's the guy who's allowed all that to fester...and has had his own legal/ethical issues with inappropriate behavior? ABK shareholders want him gone and have filed a lawsuit to have him kicked, IIRC? Did the guys at MS not take any of this into consideration when they were negotiating the buy?  If I'd been involved, Kotick's exit would have to have been part of the deal, since he's obviously not the guy to lead ABK out of this mess he led it into.

Just my opinion and it may or may not be worth the proverbial 2 cents...

well they can't do anything until the deal is final and who knows maybe 70 billion was a discount price cause Bobby is still there and they are having legal troubles

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1 hour ago, Steveson said:

Nope. It was confirmed that he stays

only thing I saw confirmed was he was staying at least until the deal was final, since that's gonna be at least a year off, a lot of stuff can change between then and now

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Yeah he's gone once the deal is done and finalized. Now as far as his career goes I dunno what will happen but hopefully he wont be put anywhere he can corrupt things further. Now with any luck certain people in Blizzard responsible with how WoW turned out will also be removed and replaced by a team that actually cares about how things turn out and play out as.

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1 hour ago, Calorat said:

well they can't do anything until the deal is final and who knows maybe 70 billion was a discount price cause Bobby is still there and they are having legal troubles

MS paid a premium of 69% so it was hardly discounted!

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2 hours ago, Steveson said:

Nope. It was confirmed that he stays

Try reading my post again...

"With the buyout not being completed until mid-2023 I'm guessing MS doesn't have the ability to get rid of Kotick. We'll see what happens when it's finalized...I'm guessing he'll be shown the door at that time.

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They're saying "we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass".
PC Game Pass Ultimate costs € 12.99 per month and WoW game time also costs € 12.99 per month. I wonder if they'll give us WoW in PC Game Pass Ultimate. We'll just have to wait and see.

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I hope Micro$oft doesn't realize Heroes of the Storm is in maintenance mode, scrolls down the budget list, and throws money at it for renewed development. I'd even take a lil' clippy mount or master chief skin for raynor.

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I'm overjoyed.  Excellent, praise worthy news -- a desperately needed ray of light in these dark days.

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9 hours ago, TyZone said:

I hope Micro$oft doesn't realize Heroes of the Storm is in maintenance mode, scrolls down the budget list, and throws money at it for renewed development. I'd even take a lil' clippy mount or master chief skin for raynor.

Add characters to HotS from all the franchises they own. Dovakhiin, Master Chief and Crash Bandicoot enter the Nexus!

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On 1/18/2022 at 11:19 AM, Boothyp said:

Glad we have the pronouns on the structure for X-box Leadership Team.

Be lost otherwise.........

 

these pronouns got to go so dumb

Edited by Guz
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Honestly, I think Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard could be the chance to start fresh and wipe clean the dirt that has been plaguing the company for years. Because if Microsoft bought the company even with all those scandals of *filtered* assault and toxic environment, I assume they plan on doing something about it, otherwise it'll stain their name too. This could not only reflect in a better workplace but also on the management, that has been rocky for a few years now.

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5 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Honestly, I think Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard could be the chance to start fresh and wipe clean the dirt that has been plaguing the company for years. Because if Microsoft bought the company even with all those scandals of *filtered* assault and toxic environment, I assume they plan on doing something about it, otherwise it'll stain their name too. This could not only reflect in a better workplace but also on the management, that has been rocky for a few years now.

Um, well, about that... They have their own issues as well.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/13/technology/microsoft-sexual-harassment-policy-review.html

Edited by Arcling
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