Activision Blizzard to separate from Vivendi in $8.2 billion deal

Call of Duty publisher purchases business for $5.83 billion in stock; Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly to personally contribute $100 million as part of the deal.

Game publisher giant Activision Blizzard will separate from its parent, Vivendi, the company has announced; the deal is reportedly worth $8.2 billion.

The buyback was orchestrated by Activision Blizzard’s management team, in conjunction with investors. As a result of the trade, the controlling stake in the business will be owned by shareholders.

The purchase will see around 429 million shares change hands, totalling roughly $5.83 billion in cash. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly are responsible for the purchase of 172 million shares, worth an estimated $2.34 billion. The pair have personally contributed $100 million to secure the sale. As a result, Brian Kelly will become sole chairman under the restructure, with Vivendi retaining a minority 12 percent stake in the business.

In a statement following the news, Kotick said the change represents a significant opportunity for Activision Blizzard moving forward. "We should emerge even stronger,” he said. “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."

Activision Blizzard currently expects to report $4.31 billion in revenue for this financial year, up from a previous forecast of $4.22 billion for the period.

In May this year, Vivendi chief financial officer Philippe Capron said the company was exploring a "variety of options" to unload the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft company. Potential purchasers included Microsoft, Time Warner, Tencent, and Disney, as well as private equity organisations.

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Discussion

145 comments
BlackSquare
BlackSquare

One interesting thing though is most of their salary (the two guys mentioned in the article) are in performance related bonuses. So if the company does good, they make money. If the company does bad, they will lose a truckload of their own cash.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

good that they can stay independent.

naomha1
naomha1

Does anyone else find it interesting that 2 men, alone, can pony up 100 million dollars to secure this deal? Their own money nonetheless.  Kotick is a fat little greedy bastard that I'm sure someone, somewhere is getting knifed in the back for this deal. How about these two guys come up with a way to support gaming and give back to communities that really need it. Medical aid, food, help with shelter for women and children. The fact that they have this kind of money riding off the coat tails of devs is horrendously sad. Why don't the devs see this kind of money back? I'm disgusted by the whole thing in general.  

kbaily
kbaily

Activision: At least we're not EA.

frylock1987
frylock1987

Bobby Kotick is still working for them though...so...this isn't really GREAT news. It would be good news if they brought themselves back, and dumped the assholes like Kotick.

kerrman
kerrman

I think this is good news?

KeenoControl
KeenoControl

I know a lot of people may think this is bad, but i think this is a step in the right direction for Activision. A little more independence

xangpow76
xangpow76

If you read the New York Times article you will see that Vivendi is a sinking ship. So I think they just want to get rid of extra baggage.

Daian
Daian

Things are only gonna get worse in terms of Activision games.

Pilgrim117
Pilgrim117

Activision sure knows how to make money, you must admit that. All their games are some sort of drug; COD, WOW, D3 and even Skylanders (with all the figures to buy) have the most addicted gamers around.

RossRichard
RossRichard

Now Blizzard just needs to separate from Activision, and gamers all over the world will throw parties.

finalkain
finalkain

Activision pulls Blizzards Strings... Not Vivivndi. Nothing exceptional is going to change with Kotick running the show

ElDuderino1
ElDuderino1

D3 still sold 10 million copies.  WoW still rakes in a mind boggling amount of money per month.  Sc2 is still in the top 3 most watched competitive games.  They're still going strong, and I predict they will perfect their games with the next round of expansions.

gino_pachino
gino_pachino

why not blizzard try to separate from activision ?    -_-

blackothh
blackothh

yay cod for 84 more years........................

SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

Was hoping this to be Blizzard separates from Activision, could still happen i suppose.

Before it was Vivendi who had shares in Blizzard not Activision, Activision Blizzard was merely a label, so wonder how this will affect things.

Still can't decide if this a good or bad thing for Blizzard, maybe they will have more freedom now with Vivendi out the picture.

Maybe CoD will be good again who knows. 

Zatto-1
Zatto-1

Somehow i read the headline and misinterpreted that Blizzard and Activision are the ones to separate. What wishful thinking. But a man can wish for it, no?

Madjik2k2
Madjik2k2

Part of me applauds the Corporate Brass spending some of their own cash as a part of this venture; the other part of me is appalled that they make enough to contribute such high numbers.

Pupchu
Pupchu

I dont like mr. Kotick making money...

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

I was wondering if Microsoft would have a hand in this.  They do not have much in development houses but buying Activation/Blizzard would give them a huge lead in most first party games, and Microsoft has the money. 

But then again Microsoft is a bottom line business and this would cost too much for them to get their investment back fast enough. 

Kooken58
Kooken58

I have a feeling this is even more bad news for Blizzard and their products...Already you can see blizzard trying to nickle and dime their customers to death with the opening of their ingame cash shop, asking ridiculous prices for items that are purely cosmetic.

AngelsongCA
AngelsongCA

The economy is failing, debt is increasing worldwide.  Poverty is rising.  Companies are losing money each year.  This only increases the desperation of companies which will do anything to stay afloat.

I expect more DLC, and money grabbing measures than before.  This does not bode well for Blizzard or gamers.

johnny_pay
johnny_pay

oh no now shareholders are gonna want COD to be the same every year

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

Blizzard needs to separate from ActivCOD/Satan incarnate.

shingui5
shingui5

The good life of Kotick.... 

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

@naomha1They do already. It's called taxes. On top of the benefits and salaries for the employees. If the game goes bust who do you think loses out? The developers? No, they get a severance package. It's the people funding it that lose out.

These guys invest in a venture and those ventures creates jobs. No better benefit than a job for someone. At least these guys are putting their money where they mouth is. If they make bad decisions, they lose all their money. If they do good, more people get employed and they make money which they just go and reinvest in a new business. Or spend that money buying stuff, helping the economy.

WeiCaoCao
WeiCaoCao

@frylock1987 Kotick is still there yes, but frankly I give him credit for being willing to put up 100 million of his own money in part of this move. Yea the guys made some bad shit happen even in my opinion, but at least he's willing to put the money where his mouth is. 

Sampawende
Sampawende

@kerrman It definitly is. Now Blizzard will have to rebuild itself this is another story...

MatrixGamer78
MatrixGamer78

@RossRichard  

agree there is no advantage for Blizzard to stick with Activision because Blizzard could create new IPs with the help of Activision but it didn't.

dominoodle
dominoodle

@RossRichard Only if Blizzard becomes a privately owned company though! Only then will they prove that they aren't 100% corporate greed.

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

@RossRichard When I first saw the title of the article while scrolling down the main page, I thought that's what it said. Now I hear it's just them separating from Vivendi.

Is anything going to change? In truth, this is the first time I've heard the name "Vivendi" in video game news in quite some time.

thorn3000
thorn3000

@ElDuderino1 for all the copies D3 sold, remember how many years it was in development and it must have cost a pretty penny to make

MapRef41N93W
MapRef41N93W

@ElDuderino1 WoW is bleeding out users by the barrel full, and D3 was a massive failure of a game. SC2 is all Blizzard has going for them right now and they continuously fuck up the competitive scene for that as well. 

Hekteur
Hekteur

@SteamyPotatoes Won't changes much IMO. Before, Vivendi owned Blizzard and did anyone ever criticised Vivendi for Blizz's bad move? Don't remember seeing that. Since The merge, people are already raging at activision for everything Blizz does bad. Now that Acti bought back the shares, people will keep raging on Acti when Blizz messes up, while Blizz will keep doing their business as usual.

VeeArSick
VeeArSick

@SteamyPotatoes I hope so. Blizzard used to be a very reputable company. Now they're kind of laughed at.

Call of Duty I could really care less about. I'm not saying it's a bad game, just saying it's not my type of game.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@Kooken58 but people do not have to buy such items as they still can farm them...

For me its fair.  There are only 2 types of MMOs that benefit 2 types of people.  

Games that sell items to those that have the money

Games that people have to farm for those that have the time. 

I have neither which is why I quite WOW. when it was only for those who were spending 8+ hours a day. At my peak I was on 4 hours a day and was neglecting too much. But now I have neither the time or money so I do not play MMOs. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

@AngelsongCA I have a huge backlog of unplayed games, so I can ride this thing out until the crisis is over and still have plenty of games left to play. Then I'll see if any games made during the crisis are worth buying or if I should wait for post-crisis games while I further decrease my backlog.

Kooken58
Kooken58

@Ravenlore_basic @Kooken58 No all of the items that are on the cash shop are un obtainable in game...Which I find to be insulting in a way. Here we pay for a subscription already and yet they are charging extra money for these objects that should be in the game already.  They recently added 3 new helms, that look far better than the next Tier gear....being 15 Dollars a piece!!! Then there is the recent Bat Mount they put into the game (25 dollars).  This is a mount players have been begging for blizz to put into the game ever since BC.

fazio93
fazio93

@Hurvl same here. i have so many games i still havent gotten around to buying yet that by the time i reach that game it's already dropped to $10 on ebay

MapRef41N93W
MapRef41N93W

@Kooken58 @Ravenlore_basic To be fair 25$ is a lot cheaper then the 1000s of dollars it used to cost to get the Spectral Tiger or other TCG loot card mounts. I agree that the ingame shop just proves that they need to nickle and dime WoW gamers to keep a float nowadays. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Kooken58 @Ravenlore_basic Supply and demand, hehe. Since we're talking of virtual stuff, the supply part is irrelevant, but if the demand is high enough they can charge a high price and be sure that enough people will show up to pay. Should they do so? Perhaps not, but if it's a smart business move, then all other things are unimportant.