January 19, 2022

Activision Blizzard, the maker of Call of Duty, will be purchased by Microsoft for about $70 billion

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Detroit Pistons 102-86, with Klay Thompson playing his best game since returning from a 31-month injury layoff.

Thompson scored a game-high 21 points in only his sixth outing since returning from ACL and Achilles tendon injuries.

Steph Curry, who returned after a one-game absence, contributed 18 points to Andrew Wiggins' 19 points.

The Pistons' Rodney McGruder had a season-high 19 points off the bench.

"I had a great time tonight, wish I made a couple more shots, but I just had a great time, it was fun," said Thompson.

"I don't care if I miss 100 shots in a row, I'm never going to stop shooting the ball. I love it too much and I work too hard not to."

The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the New York Knicks 112-110, with Karl-Anthony Towns converting a go-ahead three-point play with 29 seconds left.

The Wolves won for the sixth time in eight games, with Anthony Edwards scoring 21 points and Towns adding 20.

With one second left, Alec Burks missed a three-pointer that would have given the Knicks the victory.

Gaming: Activision Blizzard, the maker of Call of Duty, will be purchased by Microsoft for about $70 billion.

In the largest ever purchase in the software and gaming sectors, Microsoft will pay about $70 billion for Activision Blizzard, the producer of major brands such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush.

The all-cash deal, for $68.7 billion (£50.6 billion), eclipses Microsoft's previous largest, a $26 billion takeover of LinkedIn in 2016. It will "supply the building blocks for the metaverse," according to Microsoft. It is the largest sale in tech history, surpassing Dell's $67 billion purchase of digital storage firm EMC in 2015.

After China's Tencent and Japan's Sony, owner of PlayStation game systems, the Xbox maker will become the world's third-largest gaming corporation by revenue.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella, the chairman and chief executive of Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and make gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

The deal comes after a rocky period for Activision Blizzard, which has a global workforce of 10,000 people, a market capitalization of $50 billion, and three $1 billion game brands, and has been plagued by allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination.

To address the charges, the business claimed on Monday that it has fired more than three dozen people and reprimanded another 40 since July of last year.

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, will continue to lead the gaming division, which, once combined with Microsoft, will have 30 internal game production studios. The deal's main attraction, according to Microsoft, was the company's prowess in the quickly rising mobile gaming area.

While a deal of this size will naturally attract the attention of regulators, Daniel Ives, a tech and media analyst at the US firm Wedbush, believes Microsoft will eventually gain clearance because it is not subject to the same scrutiny and pressure as Silicon Valley rivals such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google.

“We expect this deal to ultimately clear regulators,” said Ives, in a note to investors. “However, there will be some inherent speed bumps navigating both the Beltway and Brussels on a tech deal of this size.”

Ives said that while Nadella has seen huge success driving Microsoft’s business-to-business offerings, such as the cloud division led by Azure and Office 365, this deal will help turbocharge its consumer strategy which has “been on a treadmill approach”.

“Acquiring Activision will help jump start Microsoft’s broader gaming endeavours and ultimately its move into the metaverse with gaming the first monetisation piece of the metaverse in our opinion,” he said.

“With Activision’s stock under heavy pressure over the last few months, Microsoft viewed this as the window of opportunity to acquire a unique asset that can propel its consumer strategy forward.”

As a result of the worldwide lockdowns, there has been a surge in gaming to relieve boredom, which has resulted in a deal-making boom in the industry.

Take Two Interactive, the creator of hit video games like Grand Theft Auto, bought Zynga, the maker of FarmVille and Harry Potter, for $12.7 billion last week, forming a global console and mobile gaming behemoth.

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