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Microsoft creates new company, Vault, to complete ZeniMax / Bethesda agreement



Legal documents indicate that Microsoft intends to establish a new wholly owned subsidiary called Vault to complete its ZeniMax Media acquisition agreement. It is not clear if ZeniMax will be known as Vault after the agreement is terminated. The EU is currently deciding whether to approve the $ 7.5 billion acquisition that was unveiled in September 2020. Documents seen on the EU website EUR-Lex refer to the logistics of the acquisition, citing a “merger in which a newly created Microsoft subsidiaries (‘Vault’) will be merged with and into ZeniMax. “

While it is not clear exactly how this will work, the subsidiary ‘Vault’ will be a good way to house Microsoft̵

7;s new acquisitions under a quasi-independent banner, giving ZeniMax studios (which include Bethesda, Arkane, MachineGames and more) a level of freedom while still owned by Microsoft. The text explicitly states that Microsoft will acquire “sole control over the entire ZeniMax” anyway, but the document suggests that they will achieve this via the subsidiary Vault. We will be sure to learn more when the agreement is fully clear from the EU.

This is another approach to Microsoft’s previous acquisitions, such as Obsidian, Ninja Theory and Double Fine, which formally became part of Microsoft and is under the Xbox Game Studios brand. Whether the ZeniMax studios become known as part of Vault or not, the transition to creating a Microsoft subsidiary to complete the merger seems to mark a level of independence compared to other acquired companies.

This is consistent with previous reports of Bethesda’s semi-independence under Microsoft. Phil Spencer told CNET in September that “they are not about becoming us,” referring to the agreement. Bethesda SVP for Global Marketing Pete Hines supported this and said in a statement that “we are still working on the same games as yesterday, made by the same studios we have been working on for years, and these games will be published by us,” approximately simultaneous.

We have still not heard how the acquisition will work in terms of the exclusivity of future Bethesda games. However, Bethesda CEO Todd Howard recently said that it is “hard to imagine” a game like Elder Scrolls 6 being Xbox exclusive. Arkanes Deathloop will be launched later this year as a timed PS5 exclusive, with Microsoft honoring the deal after acquiring Arkane as part of the ZeniMax acquisition.

Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.




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