Microsoft to Buy Activision Blizzard for $75B, CEO Expected to Step Down

Activision Blizzard, Microsoft

Microsoft has agreed to purchase Activision Blizzard for $75 billion in an all-cash deal, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Tuesday (Jan. 18).

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is expected to step down once the deal is completed, according to sources who spoke to the WSJ.

This would be a shake-up, as Microsoft originally announced that Kotick was going to stay on in the same position and would report to Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer.

Speaking to the WSJ on Tuesday, Kotick didn’t specifically address his status but said he told Microsoft he’ll “always be available to ensure that we are going to have the very best integration.”

The deal comes after Activision Blizzard has been facing pressure from shareholders and business partners to sell, following several workplace misconduct allegations. Additionally, almost a fifth of Activision’s employees have signed a petition asking Kotick to resign.

Activision and Kotick introduced several changes in recent months, which Kotick said are supposed to make the company a more welcoming workplace. Those include a zero-tolerance harassment policy and an end to mandatory arbitration for harassment and discrimination claims, per the WSJ report.

Additionally, Microsoft had approached Activision about a deal last November, after the WSJ investigative article about the Activision workplace conduct allegations.

Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision was reported early on Tuesday, and the deal went for $70 billion with $95 per share, PYMNTS reported.

See also: Microsoft’s $70B Bid for Video Game Maker May Test Market Definitions

Video games are a big business — in 2020, the money coming in from the worldwide PC gaming market was almost $37 billion in the U.S., and the mobile gaming market raked in around $77 billion.

Microsoft is already one of the top five game makers in terms of revenue. The Activision deal could catapult it even further up the ladder, right behind Sony. Microsoft, more than other tech giants, is investing more often in games.