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Weaver brought Altman on board as CEO, contributing his stock in Bethesda Softworks so that the new shell company, named ZeniMax Media, would be able to obtain funding. Weaver served initially as chief technology officer of the company from 1999 to 2002, then moved to a non-operational role in 2002. Weaver filed a lawsuit against ZeniMax in 2002 for breach of contract, claiming he was owed US$1.2 million in severance pay. The suit was dismissed, with the court sanctioning Weaver, and finding that Weaver "acted willfully, wrongfully, and in bad faith."
On October 30, 2007, ZeniMax announced that European broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 Media was intensifying its relationship with ZeniMax. It launched SevenGames.com, the international version of its German game platform, in December and work with ZeniMax to develop online games. ProSiebenSat.1 Media held a 9% stake in ZeniMax at the time through SBS Broadcasting, which it acquired the same year. SBS Broadcasting previously acquired a 12.5% stake in ZeniMax in October 2000 as part of the partnership between the two companies at the time. This included ZeniMax's e-Nexus Studios subsidiary, developing European entertainment portals and web sites for SBS, as well as other stock purchase agreements between SBS and ZeniMax.
As of 2007, Weaver held a 33% stake in the company. In 2007, it was valued at $1.2 billion, when it raised $300 million from Providence Equity Partners in exchange for a 25% stake. As of 2020, Weaver owned 'a pittance of the stock'.
2007-2017: Expansion and Oculus lawsuit
By October 2007, ZeniMax employee count rose to 200 employees.
In September 2009, ZeniMax acquired rights to the Prey video game franchise. In December 2009, ZeniMax acquired publishing rights to the id Software game Rage from Electronic Arts.
In 2010, Providence invested another $150 million for an undisclosed stake. In May 2016, it was valued at $2.5 billion.
By January 2011, ZeniMax employed 400 people in its Rockville headquarters.
On March 3, 2011, ZeniMax announced a partnership with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts to support its Interactive Media Division with a comprehensive educational program of guest lectures and internships.
In May 2014, ZeniMax sent a letter to Facebook and Oculus VR asserting that any contributions that John Carmack made to the Oculus Rift project are the intellectual property of ZeniMax, stating that "ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings."
On May 21, 2014, ZeniMax filed a lawsuit against Oculus. On June 25, 2014, Oculus filed an official response to the lawsuit. Oculus claimed ZeniMax was falsely claiming ownership to take advantage of the acquisition by Facebook. Oculus also claimed that the Oculus Rift did not share a single line of code or any technology with ZeniMax's code and technology.
In August 2016, Prosieben sold its stake in ZeniMax for 30 million euros.
On February 1, 2017, a Dallas, Texas jury awarded ZeniMax $500 million in their lawsuit against Oculus. The jury found that Oculus did not misappropriate ZeniMax trade secrets, but had violated ZeniMax's copyrights and trademarks in addition to violating a non-disclosure agreement.
2020-present: Microsoft subsidiary
On September 21, 2020, Microsoft announced they entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media and all its subsidiaries for $7.5 billion. The deal promised to return more than six times Providence Equity's investment in the company. Altman considered selling ZeniMax for several years and at one point was close to a deal with rival Electronic Arts. Altman died on February 3, 2021, aged 73 at a hospital in Baltimore. By February 2021, Microsoft had created a subsidiary known as Vault that would be merged into ZeniMax as part of the acquisition.
A notice of effectiveness in regard to Microsoft's takeover was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on March 5, followed by the EU antitrust regulator's green light on March 8.Providence Equity, which had previously owned 25% of ZeniMax's shares, sold its shares around this time. A preliminary injunction to block the acquisition was being sought in a class-action lawsuit that ZeniMax faced over Fallout 4, with the plaintiffs in the case arguing that Microsoft could shield ZeniMax's assets from damages should they be found liable after the acquisition. Microsoft announced that the acquisition was complete on March 9 and that ZeniMax had become part of the Xbox Game Studios group. The total price of the deal was $8.1 billion. As a result of the acquisition, future games from ZeniMax and its studios will be exclusive to platforms supported by Xbox Game Pass, although Microsoft will allow studios to complete all contractual obligations to releases on other platforms. The ZeniMax Board of Directors was dissolved following the Microsoft purchase.