Microsoft buys game publisher Activision

Microsoft is buying game publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal valued at nearly $70 billion, the tech company announced tuesday.

The acquisition comes months after workers at the gaming company brought forward allegations of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination in a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Employment and Labor. fair housing.

Microsoft said the acquisition will accelerate the company’s growth in the games business and, when completed, will make Microsoft the third-largest games company by revenue behind Tencent and Sony.

Bobby Kotick will continue as CEO of Activision. The Activision Blizzard business will report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer.

“Gaming is the fastest growing and most exciting entertainment category on any platform today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” ​​said Satya Nadella, president and CEO of Microsoft, in a statement. “We are investing deeply in world-class content, community and cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to everyone.”

Kotick said the agreement “will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry.”

The harassment lawsuit alleges the company has a “frat boy” culture that is “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” He also alleged that the company assigned women to lower-paying jobs. Activision has denied the allegations.

Following the lawsuit, workers staged a walkout to press for change. The company upset some senior positions, including the company president who resigned.

Monday The Wall Street Journal reported that Activision has fired or expelled more than three dozen employees and disciplined about 40 others since July, when the lawsuit was filed.

A stock summary was due to be released before the winter break, but people familiar with the situation told the Journal that Kotick held it back and told people it could make the company’s problems bigger than we didn’t already know.

Activision spokeswoman Helaine Klasky confirmed to the Journal that 37 people have “left” and 44 have been disciplined as part of the company’s investigation. But she disputed reports from the Journal that the company had collected 700 reports of concerns from employees about misconduct and other issues.

She also told the newspaper that “the claim about Mr. Kotick is false” and that “our goal is to ensure that we have accurate data and analysis to share.”

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