Microsoft has made major moves in the acquisitions space over the last couple of years, having acquired Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax for $7.5 billion, and currently being in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard in a massive deal worth $69 billion. Interestingly enough, another company that Microsoft seems to have its eyes on as a long-term prospect is none other than Nintendo.
That information comes courtesy of leaked internal emails (via ResetEra), emerging as part of Microsoft’s trials against the FTC, which show a conversation regarding the potential of acquiring the Japanese giant between Xbox boss Phil Spencer and Microsoft’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer Takeshi Numoto.
“I totally agree that Nintendo is THE prime asset for us in gaming, and today, gaming is our most likely path to consumer relevance,” Spencer wrote in the email in question, which you can view in full below. “I’ve had numerous conversations with the LT 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.”
Spencer went on to note that, with Nintendo’s Board of Directors not pushing “for further increase in market growth or stock appreciation”, an acquisition in the short-term is unlikely, however, Microsoft board member Mason Morfit, who is the president of ValueAct, has been “heavily acquiring” Nintendo shares, which could “create opportunities” for Microsoft in the future.
Interestingly, as per Spencer, Microsoft is “playing the long game” where a Nintendo acquisition is concerned, especially with the company being reluctant to initiate a hostile takeover, while Valve is also a an acquisition target.
“Without that catalyst, I don’t see an angle to a near term mutually agreeable merger of Nintendo and Microsoft, and I don’t think a hostile action would be a good move, so we are playing the long game,” Spencer wrote. “But our Board of Directors has seen the full writeup on Nintendo (and Valve) and they are fully supportive on either if the opportunity arises, as am I.”
Spencer added, “At some point, getting Nintendo would be a career moment, and I honestly believe a good move for both companies. It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to see that their future exists off of their own hardware.”
Interestingly, the email – which was written in August 2020 – also mentions that Microsoft was in “fairly active merger and acquisition discussions” at the time with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (alongside ZeniMax, a deal that did end up getting closed), but viewed IP ownership as the prime obstacle, since Microsoft “wouldn’t own any of the IP” currently under WB Games, which, according to Spencer, would “hurt long-term flexibility”.
Previously, it emerged courtesy of court documents that other companies that Microsoft had considered as potential acquisition candidates included Ubisoft, CD Projekt RED, Larian Studios, Square Enix, and more.
Meanwhile, other leaked documents have revealed details on several other internal plans at Microsoft, including an Xbox Series X mid-gen refresh (which will come with a new controller), a next-gen Xbox console that will feature full cloud integration, and Bethesda’s full slate of upcoming releases, which includes Dishonored 3, a new DOOM game, a Fallout 3 remaster, and more.