It’s been less than 24 hours since Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard for an eye-watering $68.7 billion. The world is still reeling from what will undoubtedly live on as one of the biggest deals ever in the games business, if not the biggest.
That is already a large sum of money, but it’s not until you look at Microsoft’s own history with acquisitions, and the entertainment industry at large, that it really puts things in perspective. In 2019, Disney acquired Fox in a historic deal worth $71.3 billion, only $2.6 billion more than what Microsoft paid for Activision Blizzard.
This is by far Microsoft’s largest ever acquisition. Before Activision Blizzard, Microsoft’s highest was Linkedin, which was worth $26.2 billion in 2016. In more relevant terms, Microsoft paid about ten times what it did to acquire Bethesda & Zenimax in 2020 to buy Activision Blizzard.
The majority of Microsoft’s other acquisitions pale in comparison. The same can also be said about the film and TV industry. Disney paid just $4 billion for Marvel in 2009, and spent another $4 billion on Star Wars three years later.
The only other major acquisition that comes to mind in the games space is last week’s Take-Two $12.7 billion acquisition of Zynga. The GTA parent company wanted a foothold in the mobile space, and Microsoft achieved the same result with the ownership of Candy Crush maker King (part of Acti Blizz) – a sector that’s eluded it for years.