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Tue. 11:03 a.m.: Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion

The Activision Blizzard Booth is shown in June 2013 the during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard today for $68.7 billion to gain access to blockbuster games including Call of Duty and Candy Crush. The all-cash deal will let Microsoft accelerate mobile gaming and provide it building blocks for the metaverse, or a virtual environment. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Microsoft is buying the gaming company Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, gaining access to blockbuster games like “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush.”

The all-cash deal will let Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming system, accelerate mobile gaming and provide building blocks for the metaverse, or a virtual environment.

The announcement today arrives with Activision still in turmoil over allegations of misconduct and unequal pay.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a conference call with investors “the culture of our organization is my number one priority” and that “it’s critical for Activision Blizzard to drive forward on its” commitments to improve its workplace culture.

Activision disclosed last year it was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over complaints of workplace discrimination.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will retain his role, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the Santa Monica, California, company’s culture and accelerate business growth.

The deal today follows Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition last year of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks, which is behind popular video games The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout.

Microsoft said in both cases that the deals will help beef up its Xbox Game Pass game subscription service.

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