In a surprising series of events, It’s Microsoft who has acquired ZeniMax Media instead of Sony Interactive Entertainment. Microsoft has revealed that all the games under ZeniMax banner will be available on Game Pass.
Sony has allegedly been negotiating behind closed doors to acquire ZeniMax Media and all subsidiaries housed under the Maryland-based parent company.
According to an anonymous poster on Reddit from a couple of days back, the deal will be finalized by either the end of January or early February. Hence, an announcement should be expected in the coming weeks.
It goes without saying that the whole thing sounds ludicrous. Such an acquisition would have Sony pay through the nose provided that ZeniMax Media is even considering the idea of a buyout. Should such a deal go through, the total amount would easily trump the $2.5 billion that Microsoft paid for Minecraft.
That being said, a (very) small likelihood remains that Sony may have been conducting talks with ZeniMax Media because a similar rumor surfaced a few months back as well. The second source, however, was Tim Gettys and Imran Khan, who in a Kinda Funny podcast discussed the possibility of Bethesda Softworks getting ready to go public with Sony standing first in line.
Again, acquiring ZeniMax Media would come at a great cost. Some of the studios that the holding company owns include Bethesda Softworks, Arkane Studios, Tango Gameworks, MachineGames, and Id Software. That in turn translates into lucrative franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored, The Evil Within, Wolfenstein, Quake, Rage, and Doom. The Elder Scrolls alone would be worth billions. Just acquiring Bethesda Softworks, for example, would burn an entire pocket. Suffice to say, Sony looking to buy out ZeniMax Media is just a tale.
Interestingly, back in 2016, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners was exploring options for ZeniMax Media. “The buyout firm has held talks with banks about what to do with its stake in the developer and distributor of video games, including a possible initial public offering or a sale,” reported Bloomberg back then. ZeniMax Media was valued at $2.5 billion at the time.
Something else to note is that the aforementioned anonymous source claimed Starfield to have been canned. Bethesda Softworks has apparently called it a day with what looked to be an ambitious sci-fi role-playing game in development for several years. The developer is said to be focusing entirely on getting The Elder Scrolls 6 ready for a launch in 2022. Before that, Bethesda Softworks will be remaking the past Fallout installments, details of which will be coming soon.