Microsoft Corp.’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc. is breaking all sorts of records, even for a company that hasn’t shied away from massive deals in recent years.
The US tech giant announced on Tuesday it’s paying nearly $69 billion to take over Activision, owner of the Call of Duty franchise. That’s roughly equal to the amount Microsoft set aside for its five largest past acquisitions combined, including the $26 billion LinkedIn Corp. deal in 2016.
Last year, Microsoft also offered $19.6 billion to buy speech technology company Nuance Communications Inc., following a $7.5 billion deal for video-game maker Zenimax Media Inc. Previous large deals include the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype Inc. in 2011, as well as the $7.5 billion purchase of GitHub Inc. in 2018.
Buying Activision will eat away at a big chunk of Microsoft’s cash pile, which stood at $131 billion at the end of September, though its outlay represents but a sliver of its current $2.3 trillion market value. Few companies have the balance sheet to pull off such a deal.