Microsoft to buy Bethesda Softworks parent ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in big bet on gaming

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Microsoft Corp. announced Monday morning that it would be acquiring ZeniMax Media, the parent company of game publisher Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash. Shares of Microsoft are down 1.8% in premarket trading. The company said in its release that games “are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass,” which has over 15 million subscribers. Microsoft plans to add Bethesda’s “iconic franchises” to the GamePass library and it intends to bring future Bethesda games to Game Pass on the same day that they launch on Xbox or PC. “Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass-from Minecraft to Flight Simulator,” Chief Executive Satya Nadella said in a release. “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 expects the deal to close in the back half of fiscal 2021 and have “minimal impact” on non-GAAP operating income in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022. Microsoft shares are up 13% over the past three months as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 7%.
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