Microsoft's 10 Biggest Acquisitions Of All Time: Activision, LinkedIn And More

Microsoft Corporation MSFT on Tuesday announced plans to acquire game developer Activision Blizzard Inc ATVI for $95 per share.

The proposed all-cash transaction would be Microsoft's largest acquisition ever, valued at $68.7 billion.

If the deal goes through, Microsoft would further strengthen its position in the gaming market via Activision's iconic franchises including "Call of Duty," "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch" and "Candy Crush." Following the closing of the transaction, Microsoft is set to become the third-largest gaming company by revenue in the world.

The acquisition would also position Microsoft to enter the metaverse. 

"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said following the announcement. 

Related Link: Why The $70B Activision-Microsoft Deal Could Hurt Sony

This isn't the first time Microsoft has made a push into gaming. Here is a look at Microsoft's top 10 acquisitions by dollar value.

1) Activision Blizzard

  • Date: January 2022
  • Value: $68.7 billion

2) LinkedIn

  • Date: December 2016
  • Value: $26.2 billion

Microsoft acquired professional networking company LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction. "Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet," Nadella said.

3) Nuance Communications

  • Date: April 2021
  • Value: $19.7 billion

Microsoft acquired cloud and AI software company Nuance for $56 per share in an all-cash transaction. The companies already had an existing partnership in place, but the acquisition allowed Microsoft to augment the Microsoft Cloud for healthcare with Nuance’s solutions.

4) Skype Technologies

  • Date: May 2011
  • Value: $8.5 billion

Skype's real-time video and voice communications platform was integrated into Microsoft technologies such as Xbox and Windows devices. Microsoft said the purchase allowed it to more easily connect callers to phone systems and provide one-on-one video chat services.

5) ZeniMax Media

  • Date: September 2020
  • Value: $8.1 billion

Microsoft noted at the time of acquisition that the cultural phenomenon of gaming made it the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment in the world. ZeniMax was the largest, privately held game developer and publisher in the world at the time of the acquisition.

6) GitHub

  • Date: October 2018
  • Value: $7.5 billion

Microsoft acquired code-repository service company GitHub in an all-stock transaction. The company said the deal aimed to increase enterprise use of GitHub and bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences.

7) Nokia's devices and services division

  • Date: September 2013
  • Value: $7.2 billion

Microsoft aimed to accelerate the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies and unified branding and marketing through its acquisition of this Nokia division.

See Also: Here's How Much $100 Invested In Microsoft 10 Years Ago Would Be Worth Today

8) aQuantive

  • Date: August 2007
  • Value: $6 billion

Microsoft acquired digital marketing company aQuantive to strengthen relationships with advertisers, agencies and publishers by enhancing the company’s advertising platforms and services. 

9) Mojang

  • Date: November 2014
  • Value: $2.5 billion

Mojang is a game developer responsible for the “Minecraft” franchise. At the time of the acquisition, Microsoft said its investments in cloud and mobile technologies would enable Minecraft players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools and more opportunities to connect across the “Minecraft” community.

10) Visio Corp.

  • Date: January 2000
  • Value: $1.5 billion

Microsoft acquired Visio for the unique diagramming solutions it offered to business and enterprise customers. "Together, Microsoft and Visio will bring visualization and diagramming software to a broader range of customers while improving the ways knowledge workers can present their ideas," Microsoft said.

Photo: Courtesy of Microsoft

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