Microsoft Corporation’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of renowned video game company Activision Blizzard is still reverberating across the technology and financial industries. The transaction was revealed by Microsoft yesterday, with a price tag of $70 billion, reflecting Activision’s significant role in the gaming industry.
The transaction will be funded entirely in cash, with no stock swaps, as is common in similar situations. Following its announcement, Sony Corporation, Microsoft’s main competitor in the gaming console industry, saw its stock plummet in Japan, with reports now claiming that the news has put an end to what had been a record share price appreciation run for the Japanese business.
The news comes as part of Microsoft’s aggressive push to digital gaming. The Redmond, Washington-based company gained prominence in the technology industry thanks to its Windows operating system. The business is working as quickly as it can to expand its Xbox Game Pass service, which gives users access to games on numerous devices.
Game Pass competes directly with Sony Corporation, a Japanese technological behemoth that distributes PlayStation game devices and focuses its technologies and gaming exclusively on those consoles. The Activision announcement, which is still awaiting regulatory approval, appears to have rattled Sony stockholders, who were eager to sell not only the company’s Japanese shares but also its American Depository Receipts (ADRs) that trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). ADRs are share representations of a company’s stock that are traded in its home country, in this case, Japan.
According to several reports, Sony’s market value in Japan dropped $20 billion as soon as the purchase was announced. The shares, which had closed at JPY14,230 on Tuesday local time, started at JPY13,100 the next day and have since fallen to JPY12,410. This price, however, remains much higher than the stock’s 52-week low of JPY9,915. During a conference call yesterday, Microsoft officials informed members of the press, the financial community, and the press. Mr. Satya Nadella, the company’s chief executive officer, stated in it:
When we think about our vision for what a metaverse can be, we believe there won’t be a single, centralized metaverse and there shouldn’t be. We need to support many metaverse platforms, as well as a robust ecosystem of content, commerce, and applications. In gaming, we see the metaverse as a collection of communities and individual identities anchored in strong content franchises, accessible on every device. And bringing fantastic entertainment together with new technologies, communities, and business models is exactly what this transaction is about.
Together with Activision Blizzard, we have an incredible opportunity to invest and innovate to create the best content, community, and cloud for gamers to build substantial new value for our shareholders. It starts with content across the console, PC, and mobile. Activision Blizzard is home to some of the world’s most legendary names, including billion-dollar franchises like Call of Duty, Candy Crush, World of Warcraft. Activision Blizzard’s portfolio adds to our first-party lineup, from Minecraft to Forza to Halo and the iconic franchises we acquired as part of the acquisition of ZeniMax Media just last year, including Fallout, Doom, and Elder Scrolls.
Critically, this transaction significantly expands our presence in mobile, the largest segment in the gaming business. Activision Blizzard’s King division is one of the global leaders in mobile gaming. And we will bring as many Activision Blizzard games as we can to our Game Pass subscription service across the PC, console, and mobile, including both new games, as well as games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalogue, offering even better value and more choice for our gamers.
Mr. Nadella’s remarks emphasize Microsoft’s expanding focus on a metaverse, a new area of technology that is gaining traction. The metaverse, which has grabbed the interest of others such as Facebook (formerly known as Meta Platforms), is envisioned as a virtual environment where users interact with one another via gadgets.