Software giant Microsoft on Monday announced it would acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, marking a major expansion into video gaming that will give it ownership of several best-selling franchises.
ZeniMax is the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, publisher of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises, and "Bethesda brings an impressive portfolio of games, technology, talent, as well as a track record of blockbuster commercial success," Microsoft said in statement.
The company will pay for the acquisition in cash with the deal expected to close by the second half of fiscal year 2021.
The deal comes as Microsoft prepares to release its Xbox Series X in mid-November, its first update to the gaming console since 2013 that includes a slew of upgrades, even as analysts predict a shift away from physical consoles amid an increasing reliance on games hosted on the cloud.
"Generations of gamers have been captivated by the renowned franchises in the Bethesda portfolio and will continue to be so for years to come as part of Xbox," Microsoft's executive vice president of gaming Phil Spencer said in announcing the deal.
In addition to Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax also owns Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios, employing more than 2,300 people worldwide.