Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report has just broken the bank to acquire the video game publisher Activision Blizzard, home of popular games such as “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and addictive mobile phone game "Candy Crush."
The deal, its largest acquisition ever, firmly cements Microsoft’s position in gaming and sets the company up to play ball in the metaverse, building on other big gaming acquisitions -- Bethesda in 2020 and Minecraft maker Mojang Studios in 2014.
The Activision Blizzard deal will certainly draw a lot of scrutiny from antitrust regulators.
The largest proposed acquisition Microsoft didn’t complete was its unsolicited $50 billion hostile takeover bid for Yahoo! in 2008.
Here's a report card of its Top 10 acquisitions.
1 - Activision Blizzard - $68.7 billion.
2 - LinkedIn - $26.2 billion- completed in 2016.
By leaving it alone, and without any real competition, Microsoft has let LinkedIn keep growing. Maybe Microsoft has something up its sleeve, but so far it doesn’t seem as if Microsoft is getting $26.2 billion worth of benefit from the platform.
3 - Nuance - $19.7 billion - pending.
Microsoft announced the acquisition of the speech technology company in April 2021 to extend its reach into healthcare and other industries. The transaction is expected to close this year.
4 - Skype - $8.5 billion - completed in 2011.
Although Microsoft initially expanded Skype’s market share, its 300 million or so users pale in comparison to the 1.5 billion users of WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook.
5 - ZeniMax - Bethesda - $7.5 billion - completed in 2021.
Microsoft announced the blockbuster acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda, in 2020, to convince people to play on its Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S platforms and PCs, rather than Sony’s new PlayStation 5.
Bethesda produces some of the most popular franchises in the history of video games, including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Doom.
6 - GitHub - $7.5 billion - completed in 2018.
Microsoft says its acquisition of this platform for sharing open-source software shows its commitment to developers and to the open-source community.
7 - Nokia - $7.2 billion - completed in 2014.
Microsoft’s push into smartphones was a bust. It wrote off $7.6 billion, more than it initially paid for the Finnish mobile phone giant.
8 - aQuantive - $6.3 billion - completed in 2007.
The leading digital advertising agency lost its talent and its value within a few years after Microsoft acquired it. Microsoft wrote off $6.2 billion of the acquisition.
9 - Mojang - $2.5 billion - completed in 2014.
The acquisition of the Swedish maker of the popular video game Minecraft is considered Microsoft's most successful acquisitions.
10 - Visio - $1.5 billion - completed in 2000.
Microsoft integrated the flowchart software into Microsoft Office.