The controversial publisher of the smash-hit Call of Duty video game series is being bought by Microsoft in a record $69bn (£51bn) deal. Activision Blizzard is being snapped up in an all-cash takeover that will hand almost $400m to its chief executive, Bobby Kotick. He has been accused of presiding over a culture of sexual harassment and misconduct claims and once threatened to have an assistant killed. The deal is the biggest struck by Microsoft and will transform the Xbox console maker into the world's third-largest games company, amid a scramble to dominate virtual reality worlds such as Facebook's Metaverse. Activision shares rose more than a quarter to almost $82, prompting a rally of video game stocks on the London market as investors bet that the takeover would put British companies in the crosshairs of overseas rivals seeking to bolster their roster of titles. Zoo Tycoon and Elite Dangerous producer Frontier Developments climbed 5pc. It marks one of the biggest deals … [Read more...] about Activision Blizzard boss scores $400m payday after Microsoft pounces on Call of Duty maker
Beatles gear is the top seller in the burgeoning market for rock memorabilia. In 1983 the handwritten original of the John Lennon anthem Imagine sold for pounds 7,000. Thirteen years later, just one and half verses of Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite was bought for pounds 66,400. Ted Owen, entertainment consultant at Bonhams auctioneers, believes The Beatles have a lot more mileage in them beyond the success this year of the "Anthology" series, which has pushed the market to new highs. Every generation will rediscover them, he says, and Sixties super- groups will always be popular. In the past 20 years a multi-million pound market has grown up, with rock museums and Hard Rock Cafes competing with private collectors in the United States, Germany and Japan to snap up memorabilia. Mr Owen maintains that spending money wisely on rock memorabilia constitutes a sound investment. Special-edition records can fetch high prices, providing they are in mint condition. The first few … [Read more...] about It’s Sergeant Pepper’s wealthy hearts club band
An umbrella, a Parker pen, an enamel pill box, a fine art lithograph and a porcelain collector plate ... all of these quality items and more are now on sale to celebrate Cliff Richard's 40th year in showbiz. Not that I availed myself of any of them at his concert on Tuesday, but I don't deny that this is an anniversary worth celebrating. Forty years since Harry Roger Webb sold the first of 250 million records, and here he is, filling the Albert Hall for a month. Surely 90,000 ladies of a certain age can't be wrong? From the moment Cliff appears from a rostrum trap-door in the centre of the Hall, the secret of his success is plain. He hasn't changed a whit over four decades. If you saw him in concert in 1978 or 1958, he'd be doing the same slip-sliding, ice-skating dance moves as he does now, and he'd be telling scripted anecdotes with the same faux-self-deprecating smugness. His most famous asset, of course, is a face that ages only one year for every two years of his adult life, but … [Read more...] about Rock & Pop: The old person’s guide to pop
The 1970s gave Britain the Three-Day Week, flared trousers and Chicory Tip, but not everything about the era was bad. A year before Margaret Thatcher came to power, Plenty, David Hare's study of idealism seen through the eyes of a woman, arrived at the National. This powerfully affecting portrait of hope and betrayal has rarely been revived since, possibly because no one could imagine doing it better. Chances of revivals were further scuppered by the impossibly flat film with Meryl Streep. All the more reason to book for Jonathan Kent's forthcoming Almeida production starring Cate Blanchett (above). Albery, London WC2 (0171-369 1740) 15 Apr to 10 Jul Following the huge success of her latest album, Globe Sessions, Sheryl Crow (above) celebrates with a one-off concert at Wembley Arena next month. Her first full gig in London since the sell-out concert in December 1997 is sure to follow suit, if her six Grammy nominations are anything to go by. The singer's plan for a special London … [Read more...] about Preview: First Call. Last Call
MERCHANDISING SALESMEN were accepting the Woodstock Platinum Card; a tractor-trailer doubled as a video arcade and there was a sports park. As Woodstock '99 opened yesterday it seemed far removed from the ultimate Sixties hippy event that it was honouring. Thirty years after Yasgur's Farm played host to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and a host of 1960s legends, you can get a flight and hotel package to Woodstock and even tout the Woodstock Mastercard. But one welcome change at the new corporate Woodstock is the larger British presence than at the 1969 event. Fatboy Slim, Elvis Costello, Jamiroquai, Bush and the Chemical Brothers are all on the bill. They were to have been joined by the guitarist Jeff Beck. But he had to pull out, ironically enough, just as he did in 1969. Then he did not take part because his band broke up a week before the festival. This time it was "scheduling problems" that prevented his appearance. About 100,000 people are expected at the former … [Read more...] about Woodstock’s new band of plastic people
Nobody at Epic Records will put a figure to the amount spent on their latest girl group, Thunderbugs. But off-the-record sources claim that it may be the largest amount the label (a division of Sony UK, whose other acts include Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, George Michael and Manic Street Preachers) has ever paid out for a new act. On top of the lucrative recording contract, the band has had 18 months of pre-launch grooming, recording sessions in New York and Los Angeles, and a four-day shoot for their video linked to their single "Friends Forever". Add all this together and you have to be talking many hundreds of thousands of pounds, probably millions. As one Sony executive said to me: "You were at the Hilton. We don't do that for just anyone." Indeed not. Thunderbugs made their live debut at Windows on the World, a spectacular bar on the 26th floor of the Park Lane Hilton hotel. It was a strictly invitation-only event, for the music business, the media and retail … [Read more...] about Arts: Thunderbugs are go!
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations programme in full Sign up for FREE now and never miss the top Royal stories again. SUBSCRIBE Invalid email We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info Victoria Arbiter, Royal Commentator for Nine Honey, said the celebrations this year will be the culmination of the Queen’s extraordinary long life and reign. She said: “She’s not only the longest lived but also the oldest serving sovereign in the world. Related articles Andrew and Harry to miss out on Queen's Platinum Jubilee medal Eugenie and Beatrice face difficult Jubilee without Andrew Trending “Having set a plethora of records, 2022's Platinum Jubilee will arguably represent the pinnacle of her reign. “An extended bank holiday in … [Read more...] about ‘Stoic’ Queen to experience ‘pinnacle of her reign’ this year, says expert