While the news of Microsoft’s nearly $70 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard came as a sudden surprise this past January, the truth is that the deal was in the works far earlier than many assumed. In fact, according to a report by CNBC, talks began back in November 2021 between Activision-Blizzard and multiple other companies.
The news outlet noticed that a regulatory filing released last Friday said that Microsoft first contacted Activision Blizzard about a deal the same week that the scandal blew up in November following the now-infamous Wall Street Journal report about Bobby Kotick’s personal involvement in the mistreatment and harassment of employees – including the death threat he made against his own assistant in 2006.
More precisely, it was November 19th, 2021 that Microsoft Head of Gaming Phil Spencer reached out to Kotick to broach the subject of “strategic opportunities” between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. After negotiations, the two companies agreed at a purchase price of $95 per share. The deal is still expected to close on June 30th, 2023.
Intriguingly, the SEC filing discloses that Microsoft was one of only five companies vying to buy the company (the other four aren’t named). And one of them was angling to just buy Blizzard, not the rest of Activision and King, though the board decided not to split the company in the end, obviously.