In case you haven’t heard the news, Activision is buying their freedom from Vivendi. There’s a perfectly good explanation for this. Vivendi was the largest shareholder with a 52% stake in the Activision Vivendi merger that took place in 2007. The new company became Activision Blizzard. The deal seamed kind of odd as Activision was in charge of the company going forward with Bobby Kotick acting as President and CEO of Activision Blizzard. Recently Vivendi expressed interest in placing more of its people on the board of directors in order to take out a loan so they could pay Vivendi shareholders.
Hannibal from the A-Team used to famously say, “I love it when a plan comes together,” and that’s exactly what happened for both parties involved. Vivendi’s desire to get their shareholders paid resulted in Activision buying back 429 million shares from Vivendi worth $5.83 billion. Now Activision doesn’t have to pay back a giant loan and Vivendi shareholders get paid. Cha Ching. This is not an online payday lender deal, but a huge win for Activision. The deal also saw CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly leading an investor group to shell out $2.34 billion to separately purchase 172 million shares of Activision Blizzard from Vivendi.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said, “These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi. 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.”
This deal makes Activision the largest shareholder of the company, along with Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly. The company will still be lead by Bobby Kotick as Chief Executive Officer and Brian Kelly as Chairman. Vivendi now only holds a 12% stake in the company but has $5.83 billion reasons and dollars to be happy. In hindsight, Activision should have just purchased Blizzard in the beginning. Regardless, Activision Blizzard is still run by Bobby Kotick and we as gamers are going to have to deal with him for a long, long time to come. I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad.