By Matt Grossman 

Microsoft Corp. said Monday it would buy ZeniMax Media, parent company of videogame publisher Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash.

Bethesda Softworks is the publisher of videogames such as "DOOM," "The Elder Scrolls" and the "Fallout" series. Other ZeniMax subsidiaries include id Software, MachineGames and Tango Gameworks.

The deal includes ZeniMax's offices and studios with more than 2,300 employees, according to Microsoft. The acquisition will expand Microsoft's gaming operations to 23 creative studio teams, from 15 now. The deal will also add ZeniMax videogame franchises to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service that runs on Microsoft's Xbox console.

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella called gaming "the most expansive category in the entertainment industry," citing a statistic that more than 3 billion people world-wide play videogames.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of fiscal 2021, Microsoft said.

Microsoft is expected to release two new Xbox videogame consoles this fall, including a pared-down version that is smaller than previous Xbox models and will lack a disc drive. The devices would be follow-ups to the most recent Xbox-series console, which the Redmond, Wash.-based company rolled out in 2013.

Write to Matt Grossman at matt.grossman@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 21, 2020 10:30 ET (14:30 GMT)

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