Activision claims top slot as Vivendi closes financing

Call of Duty 4 and Guitar Hero III publisher does victory lap as French multinational locks down funding for Activision-Blizzard union.

Yesterday's year-end data dump from the NPD Group contained many smaller stories. One was that Activision is trumpeting the fact it was the US's top third-party publisher of console and handheld games during 2007. The Santa Monica-based publisher claimed a 17.7 percent share of the domestic non-PC game software market last year, up from 7.2 percent in 2006.

Activision gives the most credit for its success to a single franchise: Guitar Hero. Picked up for a now-bargain $100 million in 2006, the license was the top-selling property in 2007, thanks to the release of Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the '80, and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Citing NPD figures not released to the press, the publisher asserts that Guitar Hero III "was the number one title across all platforms in both units and dollars" in 2007 and the number one game in December. When all platforms are combined, the number three game for the month was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare from Activision-owned developer Infinity Ward.

"For the first time in our history, we were the number-one U.S. publisher for the calendar year," crowed Activision Chairman and CEO Robert Kotick in a not-so-veiled reference to Electronic Arts. "We are well on our way to delivering 16 years of record revenue growth and by far our most profitable year ever." During the fiscal year that ended last March, the company had revenues of $1.5 billion, but just $85.8 million in net income--aka profit--thanks to a massive investment in development.

But even as Kotick touted his company's dominance of the console and handheld markets, preparations were being made for the union that will put Activision and the top maker of PC games under the same corporate roof. Reuters reports that in Paris, French multinational conglomerate Vivendi has secured a loan of 3.5 billion euros ($5.13 billion) to partially assist in bankrolling the purchase of its controlling stake in soon-to-be superpublisher Activision Blizzard.

Underwritten by several banks, the loan will include 1.5 billion euros ($2.19 billion) for the unrelated purchase of an Internet services provider, and another 2 billion being handed out in timed intervals. According to Reuters, Vivendi has already acquired credit lines totaling nearly 4 billion euros ($5.84 billion) to help it acquire a controlling stake in Activision Blizzard, which will have an estimated value of $18.8 billion.

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Discussion

46 comments
gamfaqs2gamfaqs
gamfaqs2gamfaqs

Activision Blizzard, thats going to take time to get used to

Zendric
Zendric

@Monco Actually, he is mostly right. In most nations in Europe that use the Euro, the plural is simply "Euro". NO plural S is added. Things simply cost 5 euro, 20 euro, etc. Many english speakers will add a plural s, such as in ireland, and that is not wrong either. Basically, both can be correct, its more of a local difference.

bombfanatic
bombfanatic

COD4 is still makin headlines. bery nice

juan99692k6
juan99692k6

Call of duty should have only one developer period.!! which one has achieved the best quality in the games? Infinity so, infinity should be the only developer. I'm sorry Treyarch but you should stick the web on your spider man games

CCFruit
CCFruit

5% operating profit. Who would have thought the software entertainment industry would be a low-margin business. If I bust my ass for a billion and a half in sales, I better at least take home 100 million. I wonder why the french want to buy into a low margin business like that. They must see huge growth potential or something. I wonder what EA's operating profit margin is?

okassar
okassar

Call of Duty 4 was amazing,I rented it and I wish I bought it.Great multiplayer and campaign that like changes your life...kind of.Certainly one of the best games ever.

zeke2040
zeke2040

i can careless, we want our games now...lol

metalisticpain
metalisticpain

GOOD! glad EA doesnt get rewarded for loading out the shovel ware and sports game 0x

LastRenshai
LastRenshai

@ vicsrealms Not every console-type gamer is bad. (though i admit the the ratio of "behaved" console gamers isn't great :P

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

lol, sophospeare. Americans love an underdog, but I don't think anyone will stoop that low. I don't even want to contemplate WoW on a console system. I remember the horrors of playing with console gamers in FFXI. I don't even want to go through that with WoW.

sophospeare
sophospeare

EA....is an underdog???? I hope this doesn't mean I have to stop hating them! :)

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

Hmm i wonder if they will do WOW for consoles now ? xlive has 10million users now although the conan hyborian adventures is on its way to 360 i feel the console formats could use a mmo ( a good mmo not that crap that is about at the moment on them ) .

monco59
monco59

@ Quintinius: "It's spelt "euro" for plural, not "euros"." Actually, the plural is euros and NOT euro. *snickers*

_MEDUSA_
_MEDUSA_

great! wonder what activision will bring to the warcraft series and W.O.W.

aaronannie68
aaronannie68

Kudos to the group at Activision. Good move.

ChinoJamesKeene
ChinoJamesKeene

We can only hope they treat their purchases with respect, unlike EA.

erict702
erict702

I guess? i wounder if it would be great tho.

Nintendo_Ownes7
Nintendo_Ownes7

@dannymalt Activision didn't steal Guitar Hero because Harmonix never owned Guitar Hero, Red Octane owned Guitar Hero Harmonix just developed it, and Activision bought Red Octane and MTV Games bought Harmonix.

vectorman23
vectorman23

well I didn't see this coming congrats to activison. activison blizzard. Will Be the ultimate software company yet.

mortzilla3
mortzilla3

Congrats on your accomplishments.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Congrats Activision and Infinity Ward on making Call of Duty 4. Although, I'm not sure you want to advertise having a top selling game like Rock Band. I wouldn't even consider that a game, much less something worth spending money on. As for Activision Blizzard, wth? It should have just stayed Blizzard. ~grin~

thekodaman
thekodaman

actually piratedrunk, I'm not sure about the US, it may be "spelled" but in the UK "spelt" is the preferred usage.

IIBlackknightII
IIBlackknightII

Congrats Activision.I hope after becoming Activision Blizzard, Quality should go up more.Good Luck!.

kori911
kori911

Once people(general public) start to realize that Rock Band >>>>> Guitar Hero it will be interesting to see just how many copies they sell.

Quintinius
Quintinius

It's spelt "euro" for plural, not "euros".

dannymalt
dannymalt

Activision did not create guitar hero, they stole(bought) it from Harmonix who made the first 2 guiatar hero games. And now they put out the 3rd game, and it sold well. it sold well because the hype of the previous games was finally going to pay off for the 3rd game in the series. Guitar Hero was gaining popularity, and Activision just put out a barely improved Guitar Hero Game, and raked in the cash. And now their bragging about it. I hate Activision.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Thats nice, good for them

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

We can only wait and see where this goes...

derayokray
derayokray

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

runstalker
runstalker

'AceCometh They could have come up with a better name. "Activision Blizzard" sucks.' They've already stated that this combo name will just be the corporate merged title, but insofar as public names/logos, Blizzard remains known as Blizzard Entertainment, and Activision is Activision, as usual. No awkward "Namco Bandai"-style combo publisher title for us gamers to embrace.

gnbfd
gnbfd

Good job Activision! Vivendi will totally give you a boost!

skyline7284
skyline7284

I never had particularry liked Activision, the fact that they are stuck up about passing EA by .4% of the non PC market? EA clearly surpasses them in PC games. but really .4%? A new guitar hero yearly is where they make money $90 for a game people have played before, its a good game, but not a $90 game.

wwest305
wwest305

Treyarch's CoD games weren't bad game, they just weren't as good as IW's amazing installments.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Blizzard has the golden touch that Activision needs.

Gruug
Gruug

I do hope that Activision holds on to the ideals of quality over quanitity. Really do hope they don't follow the same path as EA. Bigger is not always bad but it tends to make the accountants run things more so then the innovators.

AdmiralDan
AdmiralDan

CoD is made by 2 different developers, though, so maybe quality (atleast on the IW CoDs) will stay high. Treyarch's always seem to suck, though.

SirSpudly
SirSpudly

High Profitability does NOT equal poor quality. That was just what happened to EA after they secured exclusivity and Atari after they stopped innovation. Activision still has competition and still has innovation with their top-tiered games. Please don't bash the top guys unless you really wish to be ignorant.

SpartanCell
SpartanCell

The only thing that has me worried was a previous announcement around the time Activision and Vivendi merged: Some of Activision's franchises will be released on an annual basis. I could live with that with Guitar Hero (the gameplay is simple enough for that), but I'm going to have serious concern for Call of Duty if they release it annually. Tread lightly, Activision. Don't get cocky and sloppy like your EA predecessor because we'll notice.

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

i argree wih pinworm (look at bungie they made a killer off halo 2 and it rocks but now look at halo 3 its a ok game but it could be way better, or it could lead to more time and money to invest in next game?

AceCometh
AceCometh

They could have come up with a better name. "Activision Blizzard" sucks.

PiNwOrM
PiNwOrM

Horrible news.. Higher Profitability and status almost always ends in lower quality of game or care (or heart if you will). While this is great news for Activision, it's bad news for gamers, as I believe this will lead to a slow degrade in product quality (no need to improve when you're number one and making ridiculous profits). Or I could be entirely wrong, time will tell.

yanks1112
yanks1112

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]