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Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick: “We don’t need M&A to grow the business”

Activision doesn’t look to be jumping into the recent acquisition spree, or at least not according to CEO Bobby Kotick. “We have a lot of organic growth. So we don’t need M&A to grow the business,” hes said, in a rare interview with Gamesbeat.

And to maintain that organic growth it’s talent acquisition that Kotick is more concerned about. “We’ve got to find the talent to keep up with the opportunities that we have internally,” he said and later spoke about the “enormous competition” for talent, more than he ever remembered.

Kotick noted that’s in part because the big tech companies are in direct competition with the industry, something that we’ve also heard from much more smaller operators, such as Oddworld.

Kotick reckons that Activision-Blizzard currently has some 2,500 openings. That’s a lot for a company of somewhere over 10,000 people. And might come as a surprise to some given that Activision-Blizzard has been in headlines in recent years for mass layoffs.

That said, like many, the company has been centralising some aspects of its publishing business, as the shift to digital continues, while like everyone it struggles to find technical talent to match up to its ambitions.

Of course there is one potential answer there: acquire a developer.

Speaking on that front Kotick pointed out that Activision has a great track record in bringing companies onboard: “Having said that, when you look out over the last 30 years, we bought a lot of businesses like King and Blizzard. There were companies like Treyarch, Raven, and lots of studios that we have bought where the same leaders are in place today.”

Then there’s the $10bn in cash that the company has to spend, so it’s not short of a war chest. But he’s being cautious he told Dean Takahashi:

“There’s, you know, a lot of attention and interest and enthusiasm in games. There is a lot of capital chasing [not many] opportunities. That usually evens out over time. For us, finding special companies that have great cultures and teams that are committed to innovation and excellence, and are excited and enthusiastic to come to work, and have shared values — that’s what we look for. But we’re also really careful. So that’s why we haven’t done very many transactions over the years.”

You can read the full interview here.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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