20 Jan 2022 By theguardian
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Microsoft is to pay almost $70bn to buy Activision Blizzard, the publisher of mega franchises including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush, in the biggest ever takeover in the tech and gaming sectors.
The deal comes after a tumultuous time for Activision Blizzard, which has 10,000 staff globally a market value of about $50bn and three $1bn gaming franchises, which has been affected by a string of allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination.
On Monday, the company said that it had fired more than three dozen employees and disciplined another 40 since July last year to address the allegations.
Daniel Ives, a tech and media analyst at the US firm Wedbush, said that while a deal of such scale will naturally attract the attention of regulators, Microsoft will ultimately gain clearance as it is not under the same scrutiny and pressure as Silicon Valley rivals such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.
Gaming has been a pandemic winner as the lockdowns across the globe fuelled a boom in playing to alleviate boredom, which in turn has prompted a deal-making boom in the sector.
Last week, Take Two Interactive, the maker of hit video games including the Grand Theft Auto franchise, acquired Zynga, best known for its FarmVille and Harry Potter titles, in a $12.7bn deal creating a global console and mobile gaming giant.
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