Microsoft purchases 'Minecraft' maker for $2.5 billion


Microsoft has agreed to purchase the company behind the popular videogame ""Minecraft" for $2.5 billion. However the founders and top executives of the startup company won't be joining the software giant.

The deal for Mojang AB will give Microsoft an asset with a loyal and largely young following. But it is also a surprising acquisition for Satya Nadella, who took over in February as Microsoft's chief executive. He has said the company needs to double down on what the company does best—selling software to companies.

"Minecraft," was first introduced in 2009, and has sold over 50 million copies for PCs, smartphones and videogame consoles like Microsoft's Xbox. The game has drawn in middle-school children and veteran videogame fans eager for the chance to build sprawling worlds from Lego-like digital blocks. The brand also has licensing deals with Scholastic Corp. SCHL +0.06% for handbooks, Lego A/S for toys and Warner Bros. for a coming feature film.

The acquisition, expected to close late this year, also means a hefty windfall for Markus Persson, the 35-year-old Swede who created "Minecraft" and has became a cult hero in the independent game community in part for his willingness to bash big companies, including at times Microsoft. Mojang, which has earned more than $100 million in profit from selling "Minecraft" and related merchandise, only has about 40 employees, and Mr. Persson and two other executives are the only shareholders and board members.

source - WSJ

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