Microsoft has agreed to buy Activision Blizzard, the video game maker, for about $68.7bn, including net cash, in the biggest deal ever for the tech company founded by Bill Gates.
Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft would pay shareholders of the company behind gaming franchises such as Call of Duty, Warcraft and Candy Crush $95 per share, a 45 per cent premium on its closing price last week.
It is the latest in a wave of dealmaking in the gaming sector. Last week Take-Two Interactive, the maker of the popular Grand Theft Auto game series, agreed to buy rival Zynga, the maker of FarmVille and Words with Friends, for $12.7bn.
“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, chair and chief executive of 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.”
Activision shares were up 37 per cent in premarket trading after the deal was announced.
More to follow