Activision Blizzard files emergency appeal over decision blocking sale

Publisher and parent company Vivendi seeking appeal of preliminary injunction that blocked $8.2 billion sale.


World of Warcraft

Activision Blizzard and parent company Vivendi have filed an emergency appeal of last week's ruling that halted the game publisher's attempt to separate itself from Vivendi in an $8.2 billion deal, according to documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

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"The injunction leaves Activision and its stockholders in limbo and at risk of losing an $8 billion deal that will return the company to public control," lawyers for Activision Blizzard said in papers filed with the Delaware Supreme Court.

The Delaware Chancery Court issued a preliminary injunction last week following multiple lawsuits from shareholders seeking to block the deal. The transaction will continue to be halted until its terms are modified on appeal or the transaction is approved by a shareholder vote of non-Vivendi stockholders.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard told the court that there would be no way to get a shareholder vote before the October 15 termination on the agreement, putting the deal in danger. The Delaware Supreme Court has scheduled an October 10 hearing for Vivendi and Activision Blizzard's opposition to the ruling.

Last week, Activision Blizzard said it remained "committed to the transaction" and is exploring ways in which to get the deal done expeditiously.

In July this year, Activision Blizzard announced its intention to separate from its parent company, Vivendi. The purchase would see around 429 million shares change hands, totaling 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, Kelly would become sole chairman under the restructure, with Vivendi retaining a minority 12 percent stake in the business.

The deal was orchestrated by Activision Blizzard's management team and assisted by investors. The intended trade would result in shareholders owning a controlling stake in the business.

Earlier this month, shareholder Douglas M. Hayes stated in a lawsuit that the sale would "unjustly enrich Kelly, Kotick, and the other participants."

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