Microsoft completes Activision Blizzard deal: Everything you need to know

Ryan Lemay
activision blizzard xbox colours

Microsoft has confirmed the acquisition of Activision Blizzard is finally complete. The deal had to overcome multiple obstacles, but the last hurdle was cleared as UK regulators gave the green light.

Microsoft sent a seismic tremor through the video game industry by announcing its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard back in 2022.

Activision Blizzard is a world-renowned video game developer and publisher responsible for historical video game franchises such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, and Hearthstone. It has been far from smooth sailing, as the deal has experienced several hurdles.

With the deal now complete, Microsoft now owns all of these massive gaming franchises.


activision blizzar
Activision Blizzard shareholders approved an official report of harassment findings.

How much did Microsoft buy Activision for?

Microsoft announced plans to purchase Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. That’s significantly more than the $7.5 billion that Microsoft paid for Bethesda in 2021.

The final deal came in at exactly $68.7 billion. Microsoft is buying the company at $95 per share, a premium over the current market value. The BBC reports that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will receive around $400 million for the shares he owns.

The deal makes Microsoft the third-largest gaming company in terms of revenue, behind Sony and Tencent in second and first respectively.

What obstacles were blocking the sale?

The deal suffered a major setback in April, as the UK’s competition and market authority blocked proceedings. The authority explained that it saw Microsoft’s strong position in the cloud gaming sector as the biggest issue for the deal. Microsoft responded, saying it would appeal the decision.

However, in May, the European Union Commission approved Microsoft’s acquisition. And then, on June 12, CNBC reported that The Federal Trade Commission is set to file for an injunction on Monday seeking to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft needed to win its appeal with the CMA and its case against the FTC in federal court for a deal to be completed.

On July 11, the Federal Court sided with Microsoft over the FTC, stating: “After considering the parties’ voluminous pre-and-post hearing writing submissions, and having held a five-day evidentiary hearing, the Court DENIES the motion for preliminary injunction.”

On October 13, the UK regulators also approved the deal, but not without criticizing Activision in the process.

phil spencer addresses activision blizzard concerns
Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO, wants to have “conversations” with Activision employees.

“Businesses and their advisors should be in no doubt that the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA,” said CMA chief executive, Sarah Cardell.

“Microsoft had the chance to restructure during our initial investigation but instead continued to insist on a package of measures that we told them simply wouldn’t work. Dragging out proceedings in this way only wastes time and money.”

What will this mean for Xbox?

Xbox Activision Blizzard merger graphic
Microsoft’s historic bid to acquire Activision Blizzard could impact the future of the CoD franchise.

The deal has significant implications for the Call of Duty and Overwatch franchises, alongside console titles like Diablo.

Microsoft successfully struck 10-year deals with Nintendo and Nvidia, promising Activision Blizzard titles on their platforms if the deal goes through. However, according to GameIndustry Biz, Sony opposed a 10-year contract to keep CoD on PlayStation.

In light of the UK blocking Microsoft’s acquisition, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft is considering all their options – one of which would be pulling their games from the UK and pressing on with the deal, although this was described as an “extreme” option.

Microsoft has also agreed to sell the rights for cloud gaming of their titles to Ubisoft for 15 years.

That’s everything we know about Microsoft’s acquisition so far. Stay tuned for future updates on the landmark deal.

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About The Author

Ryan is a former games writer for Dexerto. Ryan graduated from Ithaca College in 2021 with a sports media degree and a journalism minor. He gained experience as a writer for the Morning Times newspaper before joining Dexerto as a games writer. He mainly writes about first-person shooters, including Call of Duty and Battlefield, but he is also a big FIFA fan.