Activision holding merger vote July 8

Publisher to convene stockholders next month to approve union with Vivendi Games; SEC approval final precursor to creation of Activision Blizzard.

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Today, Activision stockholders received an e-mail bearing the headline "Activision Files Definitive Proxy Statement Relating to the Proposed Combination with Vivendi Games." The announcement proclaimed that on the morning of July 8, stockholders in the Guitar Hero publisher will meet in Beverly Hills, California, to vote on the merger with Vivendi Games. The games division of French media multinational Vivendi SA, Vivendi Games includes Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft, Starcraft II) and Sierra Entertainment (The Bourne Conspiracy, the forthcoming Ghostbusters game).

In the likely event that shareholders approve the deal, there will be few obstacles left to the union of Activision and Vivendi Games into a new company, Activision Blizzard. Having already been given the go-ahead by European Union regulators, the deal must still be given the blessing of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US. Today's filing was the first step in that process, which will look for any potential antitrust issues.

Valued at $18.9 billion, Activision Blizzard will be headquartered in Santa Monica, and will have current Activision CEO Bobby Kotick as its CEO. However, Vivendi SA will have a controlling interest in the company, and Blizzard's operations in nearby Irvine will be almost totally unaffected, president and cofounder Mike Morhaime told GameSpot. The same can't be said for Sierra, which will be folded into Activision's organizational structure.

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