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Vivendi looking to unload Activision Blizzard - Report

Telecom giant plans to sell $8.1 billion stake in Call of Duty and World of Warcraft makers after CEO ousted for opposing restructuring, Bloomberg reports.


Changes are afoot at Vivendi, which earlier this week saw the departure of CEO Jean-Bernard Levy after the executive butted heads with the board of directors on restructuring the company. One such change in the works is the sale of Activision Blizzard, reports Bloomberg.

Who wants to buy the largest third-party publisher in the business?
Who wants to buy the largest third-party publisher in the business?

According to the news service, Vivendi wants to sell its 61 percent stake in the publisher, valued at $8.1 billion. If it can't find a single buyer, it will turn to the open market to unload those shares. The sale was reportedly one of the topics discussed at an executive meeting last week.

Despite Activision Blizzard's success with the Call of Duty series and World of Warcraft, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter suggested Vivendi might not have many suitors for the game maker.

"The problem is there are no readily apparent buyers for Activision," Pachter told Bloomberg. "The only option left to Vivendi is to lever up Activision's balance sheet and pay out all of its cash as a dividend, then spin the company off."

In late 2007, Vivendi announced an $18.9 billion merger between its own games group--which included Blizzard and its World of Warcraft business--and Activision, which at the time was riding high on the success of the Guitar Hero series and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

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