Tag Archives: Acquisitions

Game Companies are a Hot Acquisition Target

Are you ready for the metaverse? It might not be quite a reality yet, but it has certainly caught the attention of technology companies that are positioning themselves for growth in the industry. While the metaverse might be difficult to define, there is no doubt that technology companies view video games as an important strategy for growth and customer acquisition for the metaverse.

So far this year three companies have been on a buying binge:

  • Microsoft will pay $69 billion for Activision Blizzard.
  • Sony will buy Bungie for $3.6 billion.
  • Take Two Interactive is paying $11 billion for Zynga.

Whew – that’s a lot of activity and investment at more than $84 billion!

Activision makes some of the most popular game titles such as Candy Crush and Call of Duty. However, Activision has been accused by employees of discrimination and sexual harassment, making the purchase by Microsoft rife with potential employee issues.

Microsoft was also the previous owner of Bungie, buying the company in 2000 for $20 million for the top multiplayer shooter games – Destiny and Halo. In 2007, Bungie split from Microsoft and became a privately-held company. Bungie’s most popular game currently is Destiny 2 (which is available on multiple platforms including Xbox and Playstation.

All of these acquisitions are predicated on the assumption that people will be spending more time in the digital metaverse, including augmented and virtual reality.

We have already seen an increase in gaming during the pandemic as people look for new entertainment options. According to MarketWatch, video games are a bigger industry than movies and sports combined. According to IDC Group, global video game revenue was roughly $180 billion in 2020, with mobile platforms showing the most growth.

What will you do in the metaverse?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Which strategy are Microsoft and Sony using?
  3. Discuss with class: Why did Microsoft and Sony buy game makers?
  4. Show websites: Activision: https://www.activision.com/
  5. Bungie: https://www.bungie.net/
  6. Zynga: https://www.zynga.com/
  7. Check out Nielsen’s list of top video games: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/top-ten/
  8. What are the risks and rewards that will be faced by the acquiring companies?
  9. Which competitors will be most pressed by these acquisitions? Why?

Source: Tilley, A., Lombardo, C., Gring, K. (January 18, 2022). Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard, Wall Street Journal; Metz, C. (January 31, 2022). Sony to buy game maker Bungie in $.6 billion deal, New York Times; other news sources.

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Chocolate and Pretzels Make a Perfect Match for Hershey

It’s always snack time around our work place. And of course the best snack flavor profile favors chocolate and salt! Sweet and savory. All of which makes Hershey’s acquisition of snack companies Dot’s Pretzels and Pretzels, Inc. a great match. The two deals will amount to roughly $1.2 billion for the chocolate company and expand its product portfolio farther into the snack area.

North Dakota-based Dot’s Pretzels is a key prize for Hershey as Dot’s accounted for about 55% of the pretzel category growth last year. The snack category overall has done well under the pandemic as people everywhere reach for comfort foods and treats. And it’s easy to grab snacks when studying or working from home!

Pretzels aren’t the only product that Hershey is buying. In 2018 it bought SkinnyPop popcorn maker Amplify Snack Brands for $1.6 billion. Hershey also has entered into the nutrition bar category, diversifying from chocolate as consumers buy healthier snacks.  Hershey has also acquired Krave jerky and expanded Reese’s pretzel-nut-chocolate snacks. Other new treats from the company include:

  • KIT KAT Thins
  • Reese’s Snack Cakes for a mid-morning snack
  • Organic Hershey’s Bars
  • Organic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Zero sugar chocolates

Shoppers seek more options than ever before. Hershey’s stated goal: Become a snacking behemoth. That’s a tall order when competing with companies the size of Nestle, PepsiCo, Mondelez, and Kraft.

Care for a snack?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. NOTE: If available near you, buy a couple of bags of Dot’s Pretzels and bring them to class (along with Hershey bars). It’s always a nice idea to feed students.
  2. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. When is each used?
  3. Which strategy is Hershey’s using with Dot’s Pretzels? Why is it in acquisition mode?
  4. Show the list of brands Hershey owns: https://www.hersheyland.com/brands
  5. Show Dot’s website: https://dotspretzels.com/
  6. Next, discuss setting SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) for marketing strategies.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop five SMART objectives for the new acquisition’s products.

Source: Hershey to buy two pretzel makers for $1.2 billion, Reuters News Service; Newman, J. (Nov 10, 2021), Hershey plans to spend $1.2 billion in deals for pretzel producers, Wall Street Journal.

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Amazon’s Latest Buy – MGM Studios

Amazon is not a company that is content to rest on current successes. The company seems to constantly be innovating new products and technologies. And, when not innovating, Amazon loves to buy as much as its customers. The latest acquisition for Amazon is its purchase of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio for a price of roughly $8.45 billion. While not as large as Amazon’s 2017 purchase of Whole Foods (at $13.7 billion), nonetheless it is a substantial investment that seems destined to take Amazon even further into the entertainment business.

The purchase appears to be an effort to increase its Prime Video streaming to help it compete with rivals such as Netflix and Walt Disney Co. By acquiring MGM, Amazon gains more than 4,000 films including key franchises such as James Bond and a strong TV catalog of 17,000 shows that includes The Handmaid’s Tale and more. Prime Video is an important element in Amazon’s customer retention strategy and gives consumers value to stay with Amazon’s membership program.

Other entertainment companies are not waiting around to see what happens. Discovery announced a $43 billion deal to merge with WarnerMedia after a spinoff from AT&T. Sports content also has Amazon’s attention – it signed a deal with the NFL to broadcast Thursday Night Football in 2022.

What will you watch next?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Show a news video describing the Amazon purchase: https://youtu.be/msEU9hR6YP0
  3. Which strategy is Amazon using by purchasing MGM? Why?
  4. Discuss with class: Why did Amazon purchase MGM?
  5. Which competitors will be most pressed by this acquisition? Why?
  6. Discuss how grocery retailers will compete with the combined Amazon/MGM?
  7. How can these companies market their services to compete with the company?
  8. Is the MGM acquisition a good move by Amazon?

Source: Associated Press; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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