The giant Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard, the developer of the famous World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, for $ 68.7 billion. Activision stock explosion

US giant Microsoft is nearing a deal to buy Activision Blizzard, the video game developer behind the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft franchises, which would be the largest acquisition of the company co-founded by Bill Gates, according to people familiar with situation, quoted by Bloomberg. Microsoft confirms the information.

The transaction, which would value Activision at $ 68.8 billion, was later announced on Microsoft’s official website.

The deal would go far beyond Microsoft’s record transaction in 2016, when it bought the LinkedIn-centric social network for $ 26 billion.

The event would mark Microsoft’s biggest effort toward the gaming industry. The giant says it would become “the third largest gaming company in terms of revenue, surpassed by Tencent and Sony” once the deal is concluded. The deal would also be the largest transaction in the history of the gaming industry.

At 15:52, Romanian time, Activision shares were valued at 37% in the premarket. Microsoft shares were down 1% ahead of today’s trading session.

Microsoft plans to add more games developed by Activision to the Xbox Game Pass platform. With the acquisition of Activision, Microsoft will be able to release franchises such as Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush.

“We will be offering as many Activision Blizzard games as possible on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision’s incredible catalog,” said Phil Spencer, head of gaming at Microsoft.

The Xbox Game Pass gaming platform currently has 25 million subscribers, at a time when Microsoft continues to buy video game studios to improve its service, notes The Verge.

The news comes after months of sexual harassment allegations against Activision Blizzard. In July 2021, the California Department of Correct Employment (DFEH) sued Activision for promoting a culture of “constant sexual harassment.”

Since then, several employees have come out into the public domain with a series of allegations of sexual misconduct. In September, the company reached a $ 18 million deal with the so-called Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The deal was challenged by Activision.

Microsoft does not say how it will address those issues, but the company says Bobby Kotick will continue as CEO of Activision Blizzard for the time being. The current CEO could leave with the end of a transition period.

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