Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) said today it plans to buy Activision Blizzard Inc., (Nasdaq: ATVI) the parent company of Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment, in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion.
“The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush,” in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the world with nearly 10,000 employees,” Microsoft said in a statement.
Microsoft added: “Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard has been hit by allegations of harassment and discrimination.
Shares of Activision Blizzard rose 27% to $83.15 apiece for a market cap of $65 billion after the announcement.
Blizzard Entertainment is Orange County’s largest software company by employee count, with approximately 2,700 local workers.