Microsoft to buy Activision in $68.7 billion all-cash deal

A gamer plays the video game ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ developed by Treyarch and published by Activision during the ‘Paris Games Week’ on October 25, 2018 in Paris, France.

Chesnot | Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it will buy video game giant Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion all-cash deal.

Shares of Activision soared about 37% in pre-market trading before being halted after the Wall Street Journal first reported the deal.

Microsoft shares fell more than 2% following the announcement

Activision, which is known for popular games such as “Call of Duty” and “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,” has been mired in controversy for the last several months following reports of sexual misconduct and harassment among the company’s executives. On Monday, Activision said it fired dozens of executives after an investigation.

Under the deal, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, who has faced calls to resign over the cultural problems within his company, will remain CEO and report to Microsoft’s Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

Microsoft has gotten more aggressive with gaming over the past several years. It bought “Minecraft” maker Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. And last year, Microsoft completed a $7.5 billion acquisition of game maker Bethesda.

The deal also plays into a long-term vision for Microsoft as it competes with Meta (formerly Facebook) to build technologies to create a virtual world called the metaverse. In fact, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was the first Big Tech CEO to publicly acknowledge the value of the metaverse months before Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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