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Microsoft to acquire 'Call of Duty' maker Activision Blizzard for nearly $70B

Microsoft to acquire 'Call of Duty' maker Activision Blizzard for nearly $70B
Microsoft, makers of  Xbox, are set to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Microsoft, the makers of Xbox, has agreed to acquire major video game publisher Activision Blizzard, the company announced on Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the acquisition is an all-cash deal valued at 68.7 billion.

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Activision Blizzard is the publisher behind big franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Candy Crush, Starcraft and many more.

The deal comes after Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in multiple scandals. The state of California sued the publisher in July over allegations of sexual harassment, unequal pay and more.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has been under pressure from shareholders and business partners to resign following the lawsuit. Microsoft said that Kotick will remain Activision Blizzard's CEO following the deal and that he will report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer.

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"As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect in 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," Spencer said in a statement.

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"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," he continued.

Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard will continue to operate independently until the transaction closes. Microsoft also plans to offer a selection of Activision Blizzard games through its Xbox Game Pass service in the near future.

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It remains unclear how this might affect Activision Blizzard games on other gaming platforms such as PlayStation and Nintendo in the future. Microsoft, for now, will continue to support other platforms moving forward.

Microsoft previously acquired major video game publisher ZeniMax Media, the parent company of developer Bethesda Softworks in September 2020.

Bethesda Softworks is behind franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Wolfenstein and the upcoming Starfield, which will be exclusively released for Xbox consoles and PC on November 11.

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