- The leak from an FTC document on June 8, 2020, revealed Phil Spencer’s acquisition plans for Nintendo, Warner Brothers, Zenimax, and Valve.
- Phil Spencer sees acquiring Nintendo as a significant milestone with mutual benefits.
- Microsoft previously attempted to buy Nintendo, but the proposal was laughed off.
Forget console wars. These days, game companies are all about acquisition wars. From Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard to Sony acquiring Bungie, it seems like we’re seeing a race to see which company will become the Disney of gaming. Correspondingly, a now-removed leak from an FTC document from June 8, 2020, reveals that Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, wanted to acquire Nintendo, Warner Brothers, Zenimax, and Valve.
According to the leaked document, Phil Spencer agreed with Takeshi’s view that Nintendo is “THE prime asset” for them in the gaming industry. Also, he emphasized the need for a mutually agreeable approach, rather than pursuing a hostile takeover. In addition, Spencer believes that “getting Nintendo would be a career moment” which would benefit both companies.
Confidentially, Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft is engaged in two active M&A discussions in the gaming industry: Warner Brothers Interactive and ZeniMax. While acknowledging that neither Warner Brothers nor ZeniMax are on the same level as Nintendo, Phil believed both companies are available for acquisition if the circumstances are right. However, the main challenge with Warner Brothers lies in IP ownership, as Microsoft would not possess any intellectual property, limiting long-term flexibility.
On the other hand, the primary obstacle with ZeniMax is aligning valuation expectations with the founders. Phil concludes that acquiring Nintendo would be a significant milestone as he believed it would benefit both companies. However, he also admitted that it may take time for Nintendo to recognize the future lies beyond its hardware.
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Based on the info we’ve gathered, two things are clear. Firstly, Zenimax was officially acquired for 7.5 billion dollars on September 21, 2020. Secondly, this isn’t the first time Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo. According to Kevin Bachus, the company once pitched to Nintendo that it focuses on software while Microsoft works on hardware. In response, Nintendo just laughed it off.
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