Simpson Thacher, Skadden drafted for Microsoft’s $69 bln Activision buy

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The Microsoft store sign is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 18, 2022. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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  • The transaction is the largest gaming industry deal yet
  • Simpson Thacher represented Microsoft, while Activision Blizzard tapped Skadden

Microsoft Corp. has turned to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as lead adviser on its $68.7 billion deal to acquire "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard Inc., which is working with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on the deal.

The largest-ever transaction in the video gaming sector is also Microsoft's biggest deal ever. Xbox maker Microsoft will compete in the growing gaming sphere with leaders Sony and Tencent.

The Simpson Thacher attorneys advising Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft include M&A partners Alan Klein, Anthony Vernace and William Allen, the firm said.

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The trio have also worked with Microsoft on the $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn; the $7.5 billion purchase of software development platform Github and “Fallout” videogame maker ZeniMax Media Inc; and more recently the $19.7 billion buy of healthcare artificial intelligence platform Nuance, according to Simpson Thacher statements.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges said it served as antitrust counsel for Microsoft on the deal.

A Skadden team led by M&A partners Kenton King and Sonia Nijjar is guiding Santa Monica, California-based Activision, the firm said.

Activision said on Monday it has fired or disciplined dozens of employees since July to address allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct at the company.

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Sierra Jackson reports on legal matters in major mergers and acquisitions, including deal work, litigation and regulatory changes.