Vivendi Sells Remaining Activision Blizzard Stake to Unknown Buyer

Shares now owned by unnamed financial company.


French media company Vivendi has sold its remaining shares in Call of Duty and Skylanders publisher Activision Blizzard to an unnamed financial company for total the sum of $1.5 billion.

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MarketWatch reports that a rise in Activision Blizzard's share value had helped convince Vivendi to sell.

"The decision to implement these transactions was taken in view of the evolution of the Activision Blizzard stock price," Vivendi said. The stock has risen more than 90 percent in the past year.

At one time, Vivendi held a controlling stake in Activision Blizzard. In early 2013, however, it began to explore options to sell a portion of its stake. Potential buyers included including Microsoft, Time Warner, Tencent, Disney, and a group of private equity firms.

Later that year, however, Activision Blizzard completed a share buyback from Vivendi. The deal cost Activision Blizzard about $5.8 billion.

Vivendi also sold another portion of its shares to an investment group led by the current Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick.

Despite its sale, Vivendi does not appear to be uninterested in games. Recently the Paris based media giant purchased a 6.6 percent stake in Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft for 140 million euros. It spent an additional 20 million euros to acquire a 6.2 percent holding in mobile game developer Gameloft. The acquisitions resulted in a 14 percent rise in share prices for Ubisoft, while Gameloft's share value increased by 17 percent.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot described Vivendi's investment as "unsolicited and unwelcome." He also reaffirmed Ubisoft's "intention to remain independent."

Vivendi later increased its stake in Ubisoft to 10 percent.

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