Activision Blizzard to become independent company, Vivendi sells majority stake

French conglomerate corporation Vivendi will no longer be the primary owner of Activision Blizzard. The company plans on selling most of it shares in the publisher, making Activision Blizzard an independent company with the majority of its shares publicly traded.

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French conglomerate corporation Vivendi will no longer be the primary owner of Activision Blizzard. The company plans on selling most of it shares in the publisher, making Activision Blizzard an independent company with the majority of its shares publicly traded.

Vivendi had been interested in selling the publisher of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, with rumored suitors including Microsoft and Tencent. However, a majority of shares were purchased by ASAC II LP, an investment vehicle led by current Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

Both Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly have committed $100 million combined to ASAC II LIP, which will purchase about 172 million shares from Vivendi for about $2.34 billion in cash. Tencent is also part of this shareholding group.

Although Vivendi is selling most of its shares and will no longer be the primary owner of Activision Blizzard, they will still retain a 12% stake in the company, or approximately 83 million shares. ASAC II LP will control about 24.9%.

"These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi. We should emerge even stronger—an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio and the focus and flexibility to drive long-term shareholder value and expand our leadership position as one of the world's most important entertainment companies," CEO Bobby Kotick said in the announcement. "The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability."

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 25, 2013 10:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Activision Blizzard to become independent company, Vivendi sells majority stake.

    French conglomerate corporation Vivendi will no longer be the primary owner of Activision Blizzard. The company plans on selling most of it shares in the publisher, making Activision Blizzard an independent company with the majority of its shares publicly traded.

    • reply
      July 25, 2013 10:31 PM

      This had to be related to the French tax trouble that Vivendi head gotten into.

    • reply
      July 25, 2013 10:38 PM

      It's weird, I game a LOT, as I'm sure a lot of people here do. I can't remember the last Activision game I've played. Diablo 3 I guess. But outside of Blizzard stuff, I don't think I've played anything. Are they pretty much entirely COD now?

      • reply
        July 25, 2013 10:43 PM

        Skylanders and COD. They also have Bungie's next game and then there is the Blizzard stuff.

      • reply
        July 28, 2013 1:38 PM

        TIL Diablo 3 is an Activision title.

    • reply
      July 25, 2013 10:45 PM

      why is this article time stamped "5:30 am PDT"?

      • reply
        July 25, 2013 10:46 PM

        Stamped 10:30pm for me. Your post is stamped 5:45am on the 26th for some reason.

        • reply
          July 25, 2013 10:53 PM

          i checked the article on my work comp, and it had ~5 am PDT as well. it looks like its showing the greenwich mean time but using pacific as the affix.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 1:14 AM

        It's not 5 am, not5am.

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      July 26, 2013 1:16 AM

      At one point I was surprised blizzard didn't split themselves of entirely from Activision for maximum profit. With dwindling wow numbers and Dota ripping up the rts genre over sc2 though, I dunno what big profit drivers they have going on long term.

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        July 26, 2013 1:19 AM

        Blizzard has been owned by someone or other for a very long time, can't ever see it happening.

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        July 26, 2013 4:10 AM

        Heh, huh? They've never been completely independant. Even back in the day they were owned by Davidson & Associates..

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        July 26, 2013 7:33 AM

        Because Blizzard is a great development studio, not a publisher. They wisely leave the marketing stuff to someone who's better at it than they are. It's a good strategy as long as the publisher isn't trying to monkey too much with development. Unfortunately in the gaming industry that is all to common; either in the form of design decisions or rushing the game just to meet a financial schedule because some exec might make $12 million instead of $16 million if the game doesn't ship on time. Oh, the horror!

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        July 28, 2013 1:39 PM

        TIL DotA2 is a RTS.

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          July 28, 2013 3:17 PM

          How could you not know this

          • reply
            July 31, 2013 4:22 PM

            Because I don't consider it RTS. I don't attribute RTS to MOBA's.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 5:00 AM

      Activision putting that World of Warcraft money to good use.

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      July 26, 2013 5:09 AM

      So what does this mean for their Board of Directors? Last time I looked at the names, about half of them were from the Vivendi side.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 5:32 AM

        Here's the current Board of Directors: http://www.activisionblizzard.com/board-of-directors

        Philippe G. H. Capron (Vivendi CFO)
        Jean-Yves Charlier (Vivendi SEVP of telecom)
        Frédéric R. Crépin (Vivendi head of legal)
        Jean-François Dubos (Vivendi)
        Lucian Grainge (Vivendi)
        Régis Turrini (Vivendi)

        Brian G. Kelly (Activision pre-acquisition)
        Robert A. Kotick (Activision pre-acquisition; he was the one who bought them from the ashes of the Mediagenic bankruptcy)
        Robert J. Morgado (Maroley, Warner Music)
        Richard Sarnoff (KKR, previously Bertelsmann)
        Robert J. Corti (Avon)

        HALF the board has Vivendi ties. But now that Vivendi owns only a 12% stake, how does this make sense? But there's no shareholder unrest in terms of the board, as far as I know, so they'll probably just stay on there forever, and keep getting 90% votes in the annual shareholders' meetings.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 6:13 AM

          I think it's likely to change. This whole thing JUST happened, so it'll take time, but I'm pretty sure there will be some changes to the board in the future.

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            July 26, 2013 6:42 AM

            I just Bobby Kotick out and put in someone with an actual passion for games.

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              July 26, 2013 7:20 AM

              I wish but I doubt the new board of directors will care any more about games than the current one.

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                July 26, 2013 9:10 AM

                Thing is, half of the current board is Vivendi, and of the rest, there are two music industry stalwarts who are probably from the old "overcharge for CDs" days. And the board determines who the CEO is.

                Activision in its current incarnation has only had Bobby Kotick as CEO. Financially, he's on good standing because he has WoW, Call of Duty and Skylanders to make sure the quarterly earnings numbers keep getting hit. But Activision as a company is still callous when it comes to community outreach, mostly because their studios have a ser-in-stone release schedule, or in the case of Blizzard, have a golden goose on its way out, and are trying to build a new golden goose or two (Diablo 3 definitely wasn't it).

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              July 26, 2013 7:33 AM

              It's still a lucrative business. Business being the keyword. If you want to support companies with a passion for gaming, stick with small and indie devs.

              • reply
                July 26, 2013 7:35 AM

                I don't care how crappy their games are, I just want them to treat their developers better.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 10:56 AM

          Might they not resign, or the new shareholders vote in different board members?

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        July 26, 2013 7:17 AM

        Probably gets replaced via a shareholder resolution.

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      July 26, 2013 7:36 AM

      Activation indie bundle coming soon then?!? Pay more than $5 for all CoDs

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 8:34 AM

        Hahahahaha, good joke. It'd be more like: Buy 8 CoDs for the price of 9.

    • reply
      July 26, 2013 11:38 AM

      I'm more interested in why Vivendi would do this. From a business stand point, it seems like a stream of a respectable amount of cash flow. Why give this up?

      Unless it does have to do with the tax thing someone had mentioned; just seems like they either see something coming that we don't or it's a weird play for a commercial company, that like most, are hell bent on dominating all.

      • reply
        July 26, 2013 11:49 AM

        Video games, I think, are a pretty volatile market.

        I'm also assuming that CoD and WoW have been flatlining or showing signs of decline.

        Better to sell when the value of the company is at its highest (or as close to it as possible) if they predict that sales will drop.

        • reply
          July 26, 2013 2:11 PM

          Pretty much word for word, what my boy the Rocketeer said.

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          July 26, 2013 11:44 PM

          Probably they are thinking in the launch of the elder scrolls online.
          That game has a lot of potential to drag in a lot of players, including wow ones. Other games had potential to compete with wow, but this one has way better chances.

          • reply
            July 27, 2013 5:35 AM

            Haha, what? Has better chances than other games? Yeah, sure..

          • reply
            July 27, 2013 5:45 AM

            Elders scrolls is so different from wow that I dont' think there will be to many leaving for that. Plus I know only a few people that have played elder scrolls or know what it is. Half my friends have played wow at one point or another.

    • reply
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    • reply
      August 1, 2013 12:43 PM

      Independent... yet still publicly owned and traded, which means their games will continue to be the lowest common denominator junk that they've been.

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