Activision Blizzard will no longer be part of multimedia conglomerate Vivendi Universal, the two companies announced late last night. For the first time since 2007, Activision Blizzard will be able to operate as its own, independent company once it buys back its own shares from its former parent company at a cost of about $8.2 billion (that’s billion with a “B”,) dollars.
Bobby Kotick, the gaming CEO that everybody loves to hate, will retain his possession at the newly independent Activision Blizzard. Kotick is reportedly paying millions of dollars out of his own pocket to help fund the deal. Other investors in the new ActiBlizzard include Tencent, the Chinese online-entertainment mega-corporation who’s probably best known in the West for co-developing Monster Hunter Online with Capcom, and various private investment firms.
“These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi,” Kotick said in a press release. “We should emerge even stronger — an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio and the focus and flexibility to drive long-term shareholder value and expand our leadership position as one of the world’s most important entertainment companies. 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.”
Despite Activision being one of the biggest — and most profitable — publishers in the gaming industry, Vivendi Universal has been trying to sell the company off for sometime in order to bolster their own stock prices. In recent years, financial analysts have expressed some concern over the sustainability of Activision’s business model, as the massive company is basically kept afloat by sales of Call of Duty games and money gained from World of Warcraft subscriptions, both of which are slowly declining.
Activision originally merged with Vivendi Games (also known as Universal Interactive,) back in 2007. At the time, Activision was best known as the publisher of the Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero series’ (two franchises which seem to have been retired, at least as far as boxed, retail releases go,) and Vivendi was best known for publishing the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon franchises.
Activision will reveal more about their newly independent status, their deal with Vivendi, and the possible implications this move has on their game development cycle during an investor call scheduled for sometime later today. This post will be updated with more details as they develop.