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News video games 19 September 2023, 13:47

author: Kamil Kleszyk

Microsoft Considered Buying Nintendo and Valve; Phil Spencer Held Preliminary Talks

The latest documents examined by the Federal Trade Commission show that Microsoft once made some moves to acquire giants such as Nintendo and Valve.

Source: Mario Bros. Film, Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic, Nintendo, 2023 / Flickr, Fabien Lavocat

To those who may have already forgotten: the matter of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision continues to be investigated by international regulatory bodies. The most active in this field is the US Federal Trade Commission, which is meticulously analyzing every document related to the transaction. In the course of the investigation, a ton of information is hitting the web, of which the public was previously unaware.

Industry giants to target Microsoft

According to the latest news, the Redmond giant did not want to stop at acquiring the creators of Call of Duty. For it turns out that in 2020, Phil Spencer presented Microsoft executives with plans to buy Nintendo and Valve. In an email sent at the time to chief marketing officer Chris Capossela and vice president and chief marketing officer Takeshi Numoto, the Xbox helmsman wrote that he had already had some discussions with Nintendo representatives about closer cooperation.

"Nintendo is a major resource for us in the game industry, and games are our most effective way to gain a better position among the consumers. I've had a lot of conversations with Nintendo representatives about a broader collaboration, and I feel that if any U.S. company had a chance to do that with Nintendo, we're probably in the best position. The unfortunate (or fortunate) situation for Nintendo is that the company has plenty of cash, and they also have a board of directors that, until recently, has not pushed for further growth in the market or a strengthening of the stock," the email reads.

Later in the email, Spencer reveals that one of Microsoft's former board members had been acquiring Nintendo shares, which could ultimately create an opportunity for the American corporation. The Xbox chief also indicated that the company's board is open to possibly buying Nintendo or Valve, but that a long-term approach must be taken, thus avoiding a "hostile takeover.".

"Without this catalyst, I do not see the possibility of a merger between Nintendo and MS in the near future, and I don't think a hostile takeover would be a good move, so we are playing for the long term. Our board of directors has reviewed Nintendo's (and Valve's) full description and is sympathetic to either of them if the opportunity arises - same as myself," reads the message.

Not just Valve and Nintendo

Interestingly, the correspondence mentioned several other potential Microsoft acquisitions, one of which came to fruition a few months later. We are, of course, talking about ZeniMax, a company that in turn owns Bethesda.

"Confidentially, we are currently having two fairly active discussions about mergers and acquisitions in the game industry - Warner Bros Interactive and ZeniMax.. I took ZeniMax to the Board of Directors meeting last week, and before the discussion I asked Amy [presumably referring to Amy Hood, Microsoft's CFO - ed. note] and Satya [Nadella, Microsoft's CEO] if they wanted me to fire one or both of them, given the discussions about TikTok [Microsoft tried to buy the platform in 2020], and they both emphatically told me "no."

They don't mind doing all three deals if they make sense. I won't say WB or Zeni are Nintendo, but both are for sale and we can buy them if things go our way. The biggest obstacle with WB is IP ownership - we wouldn't own any brand, which would hurt long-term flexibility, and the only obstacle with Zeni is the founders' valuation expectations. However, I think it's likely that one or both of them will be realized, which will help us continue to multiply our relevance in games," the Xbox executive continued.

Finally, Spencer confessed that the acquisition of Nintendo would be a great event in Microsoft's history, and the move would prove good for both companies. However, he added that the Japanese corporation needs plenty of time to realize that its future lies beyond their own gaming device.

Kamil Kleszyk

Kamil Kleszyk

An introvert by nature. Since childhood, he felt a closer connection to humanism than to the sciences. Instead of exercises in maths, he preferred shutting himself up in his world and inventing new stories of his favorite anime – Dragon Ball. After years of study came a time of stagnation, which he preferred to call "searching for purpose." Looking out for destiny during the 58th screening of his beloved Die Hard, he decided – like John McCLane – to fight for a better future. He found the avenue to do this in Gamepressure. Since he's still a freshman in the newsroom, he doesn't have a target subject he wants to focus on yet. So, you can expect news about farming simulators, or the impact of Johnny Depp's trial on the future of Pirates of the Caribbean. If you ever hear that playing console games and watching movies is futile – remember this story


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