Microsoft has reached an agreement to buy the gaming studio ZeniMax Media and its publisher Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 billion in cash, the companies announced.
ZeniMax, one of the largest privately held gaming companies in the world, is the creator of the franchises The Elder Scrolls and Fallout as well as DOOM, Quake, and Wolfenstein.
The deal would include publishing offices and development studios with more than 2,300 employees around the world. It increases the number of Xbox game development studios in-house from 15 to 23.
Microsoft said it plans to keep Bethesda’s corporate structure and leadership in place.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize, and play with their friends,” Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella said in a statement. “As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide.”
The announcement comes as Microsoft is set to launch its latest Xbox Series X, the successor to its Xbox One videogame console, on November 10. Pre-orders of the gaming system are expected to begin September 22. In a blog post, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox at Microsoft, said the teams at Xbox and Bethesda had a close history working together.
Last week, Microsoft said it was no longer in the running to acquire the social media platform TikTok from its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance after the U.S. Department of Commerce said downloads and updates of the platform would be banned on U.S. app stores.
Microsoft expects the acquisition to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021. It said the deal would have minimal impact on its non-GAAP operating income for the next two years.
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