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Microsoft, Activision Tap Simpson Thacher, Skadden for Game Deal

Jan. 18, 2022, 3:55 PM

Microsoft Corp. and Activision Blizzard Inc. tapped Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, respectively, as outside advisers for their $68.7 billion deal.

Simpson Thacher’s team includes partners from its mergers and acquisitions, tax, executive compensation, intellectual property, and real estate practices in New York, Washington, and Palo Alto, Calif., according to an email from the firm.

The Skadden team includes M&A partners Kenton King and Sonia Nijjar; executive compensation partner Regina Olshan; antitrust partners Steven Sunshine, Maria Raptis, Bill Batchelor, Ingrid Vandenborre, and Andrew Foster; IP partner Ken Kumayama; and tax partner Nathan Giesselman.

The transaction is Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft’s largest acquisition yet. Activision, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., produces popular video games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft and has recently faced internal and external backlash over its company culture.

Partners on Simpson Thacher’s team include Alan Klein, Anthony Vernace, William Allen, Jonathan Goldstein, Greg Grogan, Lori Lesser, Bill Brentani, Christopher Brown, Stephen Blake, Brooke Cucinella, Abram Ellis, and Mick Tuesley.

Weil Gotshal & Manges will also advise Microsoft on certain antitrust issues. Its Washington team includes partners Michael Moiseyev, Megan Granger, and Vadim Brusser. Partners Jenine Hulsmann and Niklas Maydell as well as counsel Chris Chapman and Nafees Saeed comprise Weil’s Europe team.

Simpson Thacher, Skadden, and Weil are among the top 20 largest firms in the U.S. by gross revenue. All three firms were also among the largest global dealmakers in 2021, working on nearly $828 billion worth of deals in total last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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