Activision buys its independence from Vivendi

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Well, well, well. It seems Activision-Blizzard’s not been too happy with all of major-stakeholder Vivendi’s constant meddling in its financial affairs, and Bobby Kotick, the man everybody loves to hate has made plans to buy the company out from under its overlords – making Activision-Blizzard an independent company.

The house of Call of Duty and Warcraft will buy 439 million shares from French conglomerate Vivendi for $5.83 billion. On top of that, a new investment group lead by Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly will purchase $2.34 billion worth of shares – with Kotick and Kelly investing $100 million combined of their own cash. The group also includes Chinese company Tencent, Davis Advisors and Leonard Green & Partners.

“These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi,” said Kotick.

“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. 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.”

“Our successful combination with Blizzard Entertainment five years ago,” Kotick added,” brought together some of the best creative and business talent in the industry and some of the most beloved entertainment franchises in the world, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Since that time, we have generated over $5.4 billion in operating cash flow and returned more than $4 billion of that to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. We are grateful for Vivendi’s partnership through this period, and we look forward to their continued support.”

That’s …some pretty incredible news. With Activision-Blizzard being independent and no longer having to answer to corporate frogs in suits, we may actually see the company taking more risks with IP – though I doubt we’ll stop seeing annual Call of Duty releases. Vivendi’s been trying to offload Activision for ages – so I think everybody involved might be happy with this. Except other indie developers, when they lose next year’s “Best Indie Game of 2014” to the latest Call of Duty.

Last Updated: July 26, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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