SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — Microsoft announced Tuesday it would acquire Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash to gain a foothold in the metaverse.
Activision Blizzard -- whose studios are behind several successful PC, console, and mobile video game franchises such as "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Call Of Duty," and "Candy Crush" -- employs nearly 10,000 people around the world. The Santa Monica video game company also has a global eSports franchises like "Overwatch League," "Call of Duty League," "Hearthstone Grandmasters," and "World of Warcraft Arena World Chamionship."
"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.
Microsoft says Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and his team will remain in their positions, reporting to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer once the deal closes sometime this year.
"The combination of Activision Blizzard's world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft's technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry," Kotick said in a statement.
The acquisition comes just a few months after the company's leadership came under fire due to their lack of response to a lawsuit alleging harassment and inequality. Several hundred employees at the Santa Monica headquarters staged a walkout last summer, and in a statement to one report from the Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard says it has made "significant improvements, including a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct" at Kotick's direction.
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