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.

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

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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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