Microsoft Splurges on Biggest Cash Takeover of the Pandemic

Microsoft Splurges on Biggest Cash Takeover of the Pandemic


Microsoft Corp. is spending $69 billion on the biggest cash-funded takeover since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with its purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc.

The US technology giant is paying up for Activision, owner of the “Call of Duty” franchise, after video-game makers got a boost during extended Covid-19 lockdowns. There hasn’t been an all-cash acquisition this big since energy giant Saudi Aramco took control of chemical producer Sabic in a $69 billion deal announced in 2019, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It’s been a busy start to the dealmaking year, with transaction volumes already up 41% over the same period last year to hit $218 billion. That comes even after a record 2021, when more than $5 trillion-worth of deals were announced, trouncing the previous high set more than a decade earlier. Just three weeks into 2022, the boom is showing no signs of slowing down, with Unilever Plc’s $68 billion approach for GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s consumer health unit adding to the tally of potential mega deals.

The Activision purchase ranks as Microsoft’s biggest ever acquisition, surpassing its $26 billion takeover of professional social network LinkedIn Corp., announced in 2016.