Microsoft Purchasing Activision Blizzard

Xbox Wire announces that Microsoft has agreed to purchase Activision Blizzard. This is covered in a report on The New York Times (may require registration or subscription) which calls the move "a big bet on the metaverse" and puts the price-tag at nearly USD$70 billion (we've seen it narrowed to $68.7 billion). Word is: "Microsoft would gain Activision’s nearly 400 million monthly gaming users and access to some of the world’s most popular games, which are expected to form a cornerstone of the metaverse. Combining with Microsoft will also give Activision access to a vast array of artificial intelligence and other programming talent." A complication is that Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in lawsuits over sexual harassment for some time now. This makes the timing of the acquisition interesting, since Microsoft just announced plans to review its own harassment and discrimination policies, including an evaluation of Microsoft's past investigations into allegations against former CEO Bill Gates. Here's part of the story that addresses this:
It is also a challenge to regulators in Washington, as Democrats and Republicans alike have pushed to limit the power of technology giants.

In buying Activision, which faced accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination that senior executives ignored, Microsoft appears to be rebuffing a controversy about the game maker’s workplace culture. The allegations have weighed on Activision, with its shares falling 27 percent since California sued the company in July over the matter. The game maker’s shares are up nearly 40 percent in premarket trading. Microsoft’s shares fell by 1 percent after the announcement.

The transaction may be seen as a victory for Bobby Kotick, Activision’s longtime chief executive, whom some critics had sought to oust over the controversy. Mr. Kotick negotiated a big premium for investors — Microsoft is paying $95 a share, roughly 45 percent above his company’s stock price before the announcement — and will continue running the company.