Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) – Get Report said Monday that it has agreed the takeover of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks that values the maker of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls at around $7.5 billion.
Under terms of the deal, Microsoft will purchase Zenimax, the parent company of Washington, D.C.-based Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash. The tech giant said the purchase won’t likely impact its non-GAAP earnings for this year or next, but said new game launches would be added to its XBox Game Pass system on the same day they’re launched. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021, Microsoft said.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. 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.”
Microsoft shares were marked 1% lower in early Monday trading, compared to a 1.6% decline for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to change hands at $197.86 each.
Microsoft said the gaming industry, which includes more than 3 billion players around the world, is expected to generate around $200 billion in annual revenues by 2021.
“This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we’re making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games,” said Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, executive vice president for its gaming division. “Generations of gamers have been captivated by the renowned franchises in the Bethesda portfolio and will continue to be so for years to come as part of Xbox.”