Microsoft has very visibly gone on a spending spree over the past decade, buying up more than a dozen development studios through acquisitions of ZeniMax Media, Obsidian Entertainment, Double Fine Productions, InXile Entertainment, and others. Microsoft hopes to soon close its $68.7 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard.
But Xbox head Phil Spencer said in 2020 — a month before Microsoft announced its plan to acquire ZeniMax and subsidiary Bethesda Softworks — that his No. 1 pick for an acquisition or merger is Nintendo. In emails leaked by the Federal Trade Commission as part of its case to block the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal in court, Spencer named Nintendo as “THE prime asset for us in Gaming.”
Spencer discussed the possibility of an acquisition or merger with Nintendo in an email with Microsoft executive Takeshi Numoto. Spencer said that he’d “had numerous conversations with the [leadership team] of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are probably in the best position.”
Two things stood in Microsoft’s way, according to Spencer: “The unfortunate (or fortunate for Nintendo) situation is that Nintendo is sitting on a big pile of cash,” and “they have a [board of directors] that until recently has not pushed for further increases in market growth or stock appreciation.” In the years prior, Nintendo had announced plans to expand its business and capitalize on its intellectual property with animated feature films, theme parks, and free-to-play mobile games. At the time of this discussion, Nintendo was sitting on $5.75 billion in cash and was generating operating profits of more than $3.2 billion.
Spencer said that he didn’t see a near-term,Read more on polygon.com