Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard, publisher of games including World Of Warcraft, Call Of Duty, and Overwatch, for $68.7 billion. The acquisition would make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company behind Tencent and Sony.
The deal isn’t expected to close until Microsoft’s fiscal year in 2023, following review and approval by shareholders. Current Activision Blizzard’s current CEO Bobby Kotick will keep his job title, but once the deal is closed, he will report to CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer. Microsoft believes the acquisition will help the company ramp up its growth in the gaming industry and “will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.”
This news comes months after Activision Blizzard faced sexual harassment allegations and claims it fostered a “frat boy culture” among its staff. Last July, the company was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing; the agency alleged the company was responsible for discrimination and sexual harassment toward its female employees.
The agency (which spent two years investigating) said the discrimination was so pervasive, it extended to every aspect of employment including compensation, promotion, and termination. Additionally, the agency alleged those in leadership roles failed to stop the discrimination or prevent harassment and retaliation against female employees.
In September, Activision Blizzard reached a $18 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, nearly 40 Activision Blizzard employees were “pushed out” as part of the company’s efforts to address the harassment and misconduct claims. Activision Blizzard spokesperson Helaine Klasky also confirmed that 44 people were disciplined as a part of the same efforts.
“Across Activision Blizzard, our team is working tirelessly so that every employee feels safe, equal, heard and empowered,” spokesperson Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. “Whether a comment about culture, an incident or suggested improvements, every single report that the company receives matters, and we have significantly increased the resources available to ensure that we can quickly and thoroughly look into each one.”