Vivendi merges with Activision in $18.9B deal

Game industry sees paradigm shift as number two and number three independent game publishers ally to form "Activision Blizzard"; Vivendi to control 52 percent stake.

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For years, Electronic Arts has been the largest third-party publisher on the planet. No longer. Two days after EA's CEO said game-industry mergers were winding down, the biggest such union in history was announced. Today, Vivendi Games and Activision declared they were joining forces in a deal valued at $18.9 billion to create the world's biggest independent game publisher. The new company, called Activision Blizzard, will remain publicly traded on the NASDAQ market in New York under the symbol ATVI.

Under the terms of the deal, French media conglomerate Vivendi SA will contribute the entirety of its Vivendi Games subdivision--worth $8.1 billion--as well as $1.7 billion in cash for a 52 percent controlling stake in Activision Blizzard. Once the deal is approved, Activision Blizzard will offer holders of Activision's 146.7 million shares $27.50 for each share--a 31 percent premium over the 20-day average closing price.

If the union is approved by US regulators, Activision Blizzard's estimated $3.8 billion in annual revenue will eclipse EA, which expects $3.35 to $3.65 billion in net revenue for its 2008 fiscal year. It will also put many marquee game franchises--Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, F.E.A.R., Diablo, StarCraft, Warcraft, and World of Warcraft--under a single roof. It will also give Activision's Guitar Hero franchise direct access to the library of Vivendi's Universal Music Group, the world's largest record label.

Because the deal calls for the melding of Activision and Vivendi management teams, both were publicly pleased. "This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector," said Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy. "By combining Vivendi's games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry."

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick also gave the union his blessing. "This is a pivotal event in the continuing transformation of the interactive entertainment industry," he declared. "By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences."

Discussion

534 comments
playmynutz
playmynutz

Woah the money is on the table now

Stryker521
Stryker521

Lets hope this merger doesn't create another EA monster.

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

I'm sick of orcs and elves... bring on World of Starcraft ;)

Slaveways
Slaveways

Who cares? just give me diablo 3 and I''ll be happy

Nexeus
Nexeus

Maybe all the extra money the company will be making can be put towards making DIABLO THREE!!!!!! ITS BEEN LIKE 100 MILLION YEARS SINCE 2 GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!!!

Ghost_702
Ghost_702

This should be very interesting. @margowii Vivendi is the parent company of Blizzard.

K-Grogg
K-Grogg

This will be the beast.

markgowii
markgowii

@OMasterBeefO: You mean Apple and Nintendo, right? Microsoft would just kill Nintendo. Even if you meant Microsoft, they will never merge with Nintendo. Microsoft makes the xBox, and therefore is in direct competition with Nintendo. Also, Nintendo has been a privately held company for a long time, and they would probably laugh at the idea. --- Vivendi.. Is that Blizzard?

OMasterBeefO
OMasterBeefO

It's only a matter of time until World of Tony Hawk comes out...free-roaming skating...*sigh* This might be a good move though, as it's about time EA had some serious competition to convince it to spend more time on creating great games instead of yearly sequels. If only Microsoft and Nintendo could merge....*stares longingly at screen*

zhevox
zhevox

Call of Warcraft: Archaic Warfare Craft Hero: Legends of Craft Tony Duty: Tampa Harbor S.H.E.E.R : No more Point Starcraft: Bogeyman oops, i,m too carried away...

ImperialDane
ImperialDane

This could be good... might mean bigger projects, but i don't think we will see anything else.

Sameo
Sameo

1. World of Noobcraft sucks 2. This is a good thing, but screw consoles... PC gaming is way better.

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

This is good. we might finnaly see WoW for consoles. Call of Duty online anyone?

Overlord07
Overlord07

EA made good games, look at LOTR:BFME 2 for Xbox 360 i love that game :) :) :)

Overlord07
Overlord07

World of Warcraft for consoles holy crap!!! :)

chaotic_jesus
chaotic_jesus

cant wait to see how this one turns out. now i gotta get off this site, bring back jeff!

dakidukno
dakidukno

sweet. I just hope activision doesn't f*@k up warcraft or Diablo

southernzombie
southernzombie

Wow, guitar hero fans, thats excellent news for us. Activision now has access to more songs than ever before. can you imagine the amount of new songs they can pump out?

maninatrunk77
maninatrunk77

good god!! I hope this is good news for starcraft i love that game, and maybe it might get even more attention! that would be amazing, I also hope that this might mean new game and better quality games as well! we can only hope!

fred3324
fred3324

Bigger budget to make games? Seems to me to always be a good thing. People are suggesting that we won't see as many original groundbreaking games because of it . I tend to think the opposite. A larger company can rely on there major titles and still allow for resources to go too that original game. The reason we don't see as many original games is simply because to just make a game requires millions if it even wants to even stand a chance in todays market. It's a long way from 4 guys coding away in a dorm room somewhere.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

It remains to be seen whether a larger capacity and economies of scale will deliver better games to us. IMO it won't - all that's happened is the market has lost one more competitor.

1speedbike
1speedbike

Come on people, this isn't really a bad thing. I mean, it's obvious that Vivendi already owns Blizzard and Sierra, but does that mean that Sierra's games influence Blizzard's games and vice-versa, or that the two studios even actually interact? No. It just means all the money's gonna go to a single place.. Considering that Vivendi owns 52% of the resulting company, it's slightly more favorable for the people at Blizzard, but still pretty even, so I'm pretty sure they're going to all remain the same independent company they always were (even with Sierra under the same parent company), and so will Activion's game makers.

JeSKeRS
JeSKeRS

LMAO Finnjohn the only good game by Blizzard was Lost Vikings? Every game Blizzard makes is outstanding. In my honest opinion, WC3 is the best game ever made. EVAR. Seriously, other companies should strive to create games as good as Blizzard. But I dont know why im on this site after the Kane And Lynch debauchery... Time to go! Gamespot Sucks.

nickythenewt21
nickythenewt21

My dreams come true! Now they can make Guitar Hero IV: World of Rock & Warcraft!

Whitewind617
Whitewind617

Basically all this changes is that Blizzard has a bigger budget, and due to the outrageous numbers blizzard games sell, so does Activision. But...blizzard may receive some pressure from Activision to not delay thier games, and release them earlier, which may be a problem with them.

gamepro930
gamepro930

A bigger budget could be a good thing. but like many have said, half baked sequels are my fear.

finnjohn
finnjohn

Interesting union, too bad Blizzards only good game is The Lost Vikings.

Zcrimson07
Zcrimson07

lol i love how everyone thinks this so soo horrible. what makes anyone think they're going to start churning out Call of Dutys? I've played everyone and they've all been incredible and improved from previous installments. and they've been churning out tony hawks for some time now so really...whats going to change? only an increase in the budget.

Srinivassa
Srinivassa

Corporate mergers are great for a software company. They are terrible for any artistic endeavor. I would crown this conglomeration as the latter. We'll still get our churned out Blizzard games Warcraft 4, Diablo 3, World of StarCraft, whatever. Now under the same roof as Shrek 4, Spiderman4, Guitar Hero 4, Call of Duty 5. I mean, come on! Are these big mergers good for ANYTHING except cranking out countless sequels on already existing IPs? Yuck. I hate this merger. Death to creativity for all the studios under this roof. Activision Blizzard. You know they'd flaunt the Blizzard name right in their corporate logo, even as they suck more and more out of what makes Blizzard so great.

Sydwynder
Sydwynder

Holy shnikeys? That's a lot of downloadable content to consume.........no wait.............Boycott!!!!.....................BOYCOTT DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT THAT COSTS MONEY

Proman84
Proman84

So if this is going to be like EA only bigger... you know what that means: yearly half-baked sequels galore!

Fenrir_DarkWolf
Fenrir_DarkWolf

Activision Blizzard??? Worst name EVER... Just call it Blizzard!!

mr17x
mr17x

This is the biggest thing in gaming since Donkey Kong kidnapped peach and after Samus turned out to be a girl. Gamespot suggested correction: "F.E.A.R." the name is actually property of Warner Bros. that's why the developers changed the name to Project Origin... I think.

-THA-hamst3r
-THA-hamst3r

1. "This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector," 2. "By combining Vivendi's games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry." 3. "This is a pivotal event in the continuing transformation of the interactive entertainment industry," 4. "By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences." ^--- Meaningless corporate babble. How about saying, "this means our games will be more awesome." or "we have upped the budget on our latest titles to make them even better." or "now we have twice as many people working on each game to get them released sooner."? Oh, that's right, it doesn't mean any of that. Someone's making more money and nothing has actually improved. Look at AOL Time Warner Adelphia Comcast, etc. They're all one big company now - what's better? Look at SBC AT&T Yahoo, etc...they're all one big company too... All it means to me is that I can't get an answer from anyone when I call support. It means their websites have missing pages, broken redirects and conflicting information. It means a lot of things, but not better games. :\ Lame.

Beesond
Beesond

"Vivendi is the company that owns blizzard" OH! good to know, I figured as much, but wasn't sure.

BadSushi
BadSushi

good god... a ton of my all time favs from both sides... together... what next an Orc in THPS? Or GH references in WoW or COD? Hey now these two guys can make even better online games as they both have some good experience and great titles.

grokman10
grokman10

Now Gamespot can kiss an even bigger ass.

Dark_Lord777
Dark_Lord777

yeah i agree, an Orc as a purchasable character, his guitar will be a battle axe!

iron_zealot7531
iron_zealot7531

yea!!!! Anything the damages EA, no matter how slightly, is good news in my book

lanista
lanista

"Please only use that word in the context which Thomas Kuhn desired, i.e. relating to the philosophy and history of science." Somewhat optimistic, given the general lowering of standard in (standard i.e. English) English usage Regarding precision, and as a general observation here, American trash talk and gangster rap appears to be king, hence anything else is 'uncool' and unworthy of study and perfection. The world seems to have moved away from a standard English now, even Microsoft doesn't list one, hence it's a free for all and who can hence be judge? Nobody. On topic? This is a dog eat dog world. So back to business, Activision is now the biggest dog on the block, so expect it to bite EA's delicate round things...!! ;-)