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Microsoft Tried Buying One of the Largest Mobile Developers Before ABK Deal – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Microsoft Tried Buying One of the Largest Mobile Developers Before ABK Deal



Before targeting Activision Blizzard, one of the biggest game developers in the world, Microsoft tried to purchase Zynga, which is also one of the largest mobile game developers worldwide. This information was revealed during the second day of the FTC’s preliminary injunction hearing against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.



Zynga, which was founded in 2007, was one of the ten largest mobile game developers in 2021, generating $2.8 billion in revenue. Shortly after that, Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto, acquired Zynga for $12.7 billion. This cash-and-stock deal, which was completed in May 2022, is still the largest acquisition in the gaming industry’s history, although Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard takeover will be 5.5 times larger if approved.

RELATED: Xbox First Party Developers Are Done Making Games for Xbox One

During a hearing held on June 23 in front of a San Francisco federal court, Phil Spencer, the Head of Xbox, stated that Microsoft had attempted to acquire Zynga before it was purchased by Take-Two. Spencer testified that the discussions with Zynga took a considerable amount of time, but he did not go into further detail. However, Microsoft’s public court documents from the previous day included an email from Xbox CFO Tim Stuart to Senior Finance Director Jamie Lawver discussing a \”Zynga strategy approval\” in the subject line. Its contents were not made public, but the email’s date of August 19, 2021, implies that Microsoft had been in talks to acquire Zynga for several months before Take-Two’s acquisition in January 2022.

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Although the acquisition timeline could suggest that Take-Two beat Microsoft to the punch, Spencer stated that Microsoft decided to drop the idea of purchasing Zynga after concluding that it wanted something \”even bigger than Zynga\” to kickstart its mobile gaming venture. As a result, Microsoft set its sights on Activision Blizzard, the parent company of King, the creator of Candy Crush, according to Spencer’s testimony. This is not the first time the company’s leadership has suggested that the ABK deal is primarily motivated by mobile gaming, as Microsoft has been claiming that Activision Blizzard games are not must-have titles for almost a year now.

This sentiment was repeatedly expressed throughout Microsoft’s ongoing discussions with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which rejected Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard in April, four months after the FTC sued to block the deal. Regardless of whether the legal argument that the acquisition is primarily motivated by the company’s mobile ambitions ends up being enough to push it over the finish line, Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal could now be facing its third hurdle in as many months.

MORE: The Xbox Games Showcase Was the Win Microsoft Needed

Source: The Verge


Microsoft Tried Buying One of the Largest Mobile Developers Before

Prior to setting its sights on Activision Blizzard, Microsoft attempted to acquire Zynga, one of the largest mobile game developers on the planet. This revelation emerged during the second day of the preliminary injunction hearing on the FTC’s attempt at blocking Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition.



Founded in 2007, Zynga was one of the ten largest mobile game developers on the planet as of 2021, when it reported $2.8 billion in revenue. Shortly thereafter, Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive acquired Zynga to the tune of $12.7 billion. The cash-and-stock deal, completed in May 2022, is still the largest acquisition in the gaming industry’s history, although Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard buyout would exceed it 5.5 times over if approved.

RELATED: Xbox First Party Developers Are Done Making Games for Xbox One

During a June 23 hearing in front of a San Francisco federal court, Xbox Head Phil Spencer revealed Microsoft tried buying Zynga before the California-based company was ultimately acquired by Take-Two. Speaking under oath, Spencer said that the talks with Zynga took “quite a bit of time.” And while he didn’t elaborate on that point, Microsoft’s public court filings from a day earlier included an email from Xbox CFO Tim Stuart to Senior Finance Director Jamie Lawver whose subject line included a mention of a “Zynga strategy approval.” Its contents are omitted from the public docket for the case, but the fact that the email is dated August 19, 2021, implies Microsoft had been in talks to acquire Zynga for months before Take-Two agreed to do so in January 2022.

Although the timeline of the acquisition could suggest that Take-Two beat Microsoft to the punch, Spencer said the tech giant itself dropped the idea after deciding it wanted something “even bigger than Zynga” in order to kickstart its foray into mobile gaming. It subsequently set its sights on Activision Blizzard, the owner of Candy Crush maker King, as per Spencer’s testimony. This isn’t the first occasion whereon the company’s leadership suggested that the ABK deal is primarily mobile-motivated, as Microsoft has been claiming that Activision Blizzard games aren’t must-have titles for nearly a year by now.

That sentiment was repeatedly expressed during Microsoft’s ongoing back-and-forth with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which rejected its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard back in April, some four months after the FTC sued to block the deal. Regardless of whether the legal argument that the acquisition is primarily motivated by the company’s mobile ambitions ends up being enough to push it over the finish line, Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal could currently be facing its third block in just as many months.

MORE: The Xbox Games Showcase Was the Win Microsoft Needed

Source: The Verge

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