How does Microsoft’s $ 68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard compare to others?

Microsoft announced today that it is buying Activision Blizzard for a whopping $ 68.7 billion, launching a fast-moving, high-end acquisition. This brings franchises almost as big as the price tag, such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo and World of Warcraft into the Xbox family. The future of these franchises, and whether they will be exclusive to Xbox consoles or not, is still uncertain and is just one of the many unanswered questions after today’s news.

What will become of Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, who allegedly knew for years the company’s history of sexual misconduct and harassment? What Activision Blizzard franchises can Xbox revive? Which games will remain multiplatform and which will be exclusive to Xbox? For now we must all wait and see; and there is a good chance that we will not get these answers until the transaction is completed in the financial year 2023. One known thing, however, is the price – with a price of Microsoft $ 68.7 billion, this acquisition quickly rose to some of the largest in the story. But how big is it compared to others in video games? How about compared to those made in other media such as movies?

Here’s a quick look at how this acquisition compares to similar purchases:

Microsoft buys Zenimax – $ 7.5 billion

Microsoft announced back in September 2020 that it was acquiring ZeniMax Media, Bethesda’s parent company. That deal was finalized in March last year, and now the Xbox is home to franchises like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Wolfenstein and Dishonored. It will also be the exclusive console home for new games like Starfield, and while the price of buying Bethesda’s IPs was quite high, $ 7.5 billion pales in comparison to today’s acquisitions.

Take-Two buys Zynga – $ 13 billion

Just last week, Take-Two became the company behind what was the most expensive acquisition in video game history. It did so by acquiring Zynga for $ 12.7 billion. While Zynga may not be the most recognized name on the console and PC side of gaming, it is a giant in the mobile gaming market. Maybe next to King, who Xbox now owns after today’s Activision Blizzard purchase. Take-Two’s acquisition of Zynga was smart, however – it positions the company to be a market leader in mobile gaming, which also happens to be one of the largest in the world. The price of $ 13 billion was historic, but only for a week because of today’s news.

Sony buys Gaikai – $ 380 million

Sony announced in 2012 that they had acquired Gaikai Inc, a cloud streaming company that is home to the technology that now runs Sony’s PlayStation Now service, for $ 380 million. At the time, that number seemed incredibly high, and it’s still a huge number, but as you can see, it’s a child’s play compared to capital-B billion acquisitions. Still, Sony bought a great cloud streaming service that allows players to play older generations of games and easily download new ones (depending on your internet connection). And it did not cost them billions, which it could see as a gain in itself. Today, there are rumors that PlayStation Now might be folded into a new Xbox Game Pass-like service codenamed Spartacus, but so far it’s still a rumor. Only time will tell how far Sony will take the initial investment of $ 380 million.

Sony acquires Insomniac Games – $ 229 million

Sony announced in August 2019 that it had acquired Insomniac Games, the studio behind franchises such as Marvel’s Spider-Man, Ratchet & Clank and others. In February 2020, it was revealed that Sony paid $ 229 million to bring Insomniac into the PlayStation family (thank you, CNET) by first-rate studios. While that number may seem low for a studio that constantly publishes great games year after year, it was a rare look at the cost to bring the studios into a bigger umbrella. Many individual student purchases are made without a public disclosure of paid costs. For example, how much PlayStation paid to acquire Housemarque or Firesprite is not known, and the price Microsoft paid for Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs or Double Fine Productions is also not known.

Disney acquires Lucasfilm – $ 4 billion

These are many of the video game-centric acquisitions that have taken place in recent years, but when you expand the pool to include them in the entertainment industry, $ 68.7 billion does not seem so wild, although it is still easily one of the biggest costs. paid. Disney shook the entertainment landscape in 2012 when it announced it had bought Lucasfilm, the legendary film studio behind franchises like Indiana Jones, The Land Before Time and Willow, for $ 4 billion (thank you USA Today). Oh, and Star Wars too. At the time, $ 4 billion seemed monumental, but when Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hit theaters and stepped past the $ 1 billion box office, those $ 4 billion felt much smaller. For the price Microsoft paid to acquire Activision Blizzard, it could have bought 17 Lucasfilms, or in other words, it could have bought the Star Wars series more than a dozen times.

Disney buys 20th Century Fox – $ 71.3 billion

It took a lot to find an acquisition in an entertainment medium that cost more than Activision Blizzard’s price tag (remember, something bigger has happened in other industries, such as Heinz’s $ 100 billion purchase of Kraft in 2015 or even AOL’s acquisition of Time Warner for $ 182 billion in 2000) … but we did it: Disney’s 2020 acquisition of 20th Century Fox for $ 71.3 billion (thank you, BBC) cost more. Probably one of the most historic entertainment acquisitions ever, this brought everything that features the iconic 20th Century Fox brass spotlight theme at the start of it, into Disney’s wheelhouse. There has been a lot of speculation about how and why this one occurred, and we’m not so sure it was not just so Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige could bring the X-Men to MCU, but one thing’s for sure: we will probably do not see such an expensive acquisition for a very long time.


Are there any large-scale acquisitions we may have missed? Which costs seem too low for you, and which costs seem too high? Tell us in the comments below!

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