Microsoft to acquire ZeniMax Media, owner of Bethesda Softworks

Microsoft has agreed to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of game developer Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 billion in an all-cash deal.

Bethesda Softworks is the creator of gaming franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Quake, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored.

According to Microsoft, the game publisher will add an impressive portfolio of games, talent, technology, and a track record of blockbuster commercial success, to Xbox.

The acquisition includes publishing offices and development studios spread across the world with more than 2,300 employees. These include Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, ZeniMax Online Studios, id Software, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, Arkane, MachineGames, and Roundhouse Studios.

Robert A. Altman – ZeniMax Media chairman and CEO said: “This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans. We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together.

“The big winners today are our fans. We are continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft’s scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better.”

Microsoft to acquire ZeniMax Media, owner of Bethesda Softworks

Microsoft to acquire ZeniMax Media, owner of Bethesda Softworks. Photo courtesy of Coolcaesar/

Microsoft said that through Bethesda Softworks, it will expand its creative studio teams from 15 to 23 besides adding the latter’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft’s plans to bring the future games of Bethesda Softworks into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, a new space epic, which is currently being developed by Bethesda Game Studios.

Satya Nadella – CEO of Microsoft said: “Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends.

“Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. As a proven game 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.”

The deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory review, is expected to close in H2 2021.

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