A comical look at Microsoft’s $1B+ acquisitions

Microsoft’s $7.5B acquisition of game publisher ZeniMax Media is its 11th acquisition of $1B+ since 1987. Here’s what you need to know about the others.


September 22, 2020

Like a spurned lover, Microsoft quickly pivoted from its failed TikTok bid and dropped a cool $7.5B to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of game publisher Bethesda Softworks (Doom, Fallout, Elder Scrolls).

It’s Microsoft’s largest game acquisition ever and the tech giant’s 11th acquisition of $1B+ since 1987.

Here are the others, with our takes on the deals:

  • The priciest (and spammiest) acquisition: LinkedIn for $26.2B in 2016.
  • The “I’ve never heard of this company, but its early employees are def way richer than me” acquisition: Fast Search & Transfer for $1.2B in 2008.
  • The “Are these tech companies or the place we get our eyewear prescriptions done?” acquisitions: Tied — Visio Corp ($1.4B in 1999) and Navision ($1.2B in 2002).
  • The Ron Burgundy “I immediately regret this decision” acquisition: Tied — Skype for $8.5B in 2011 and Nokia for $7.2B in 2014.
  • The “Let’s piss off software engineers” acquisition: GitHub for $7.5B in 2018.
  • The “Parents love this because it’s a nanny substitute” acquisition: Mojang (Minecraft) for $2.5B in 2014.
  • The “Who needs Zuckerberg when you can have David Sacks?” acquisition: Yammer for $1.2B in 2012.

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