Microsoft to acquire Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 billion in cash

Microsoft is expanding its position in the gaming industry with a blockbuster deal to acquire Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash.

Rockville, Maryland-based ZeniMax Media is one of the largest, privately held game developers and publishers in the world. Its best-selling game franchises include “Doom,” “The Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout.”

It is expected to soon release a new, space epic game called “Starfield.”

The acquisition will bring Bethesda Softworks’ portfolio of games, technology and talent to Xbox.

Microsoft’s cloud-gaming service Xbox Game Pass has 15 million subscribers.

“As a proven 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,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement.

ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by chairman and CEO Robert Altman. The company’s management and employees will remain in place following the acquisition.

“We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together,” said Altman.

Pending regulatory approval, the acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2021.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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