Activision Buys Itself from Vivendi

Bobby's Red EyesBusiness news today that Activision has put some of their huge cash horde to use, not via bonuses to employees, but by buying out the majority of Vivendi’s holdings in the company. Bobby is prominently involved, of course.

Activision Blizzard, the world’s biggest video game publisher, has a reached an $8.2 billion deal to separate from Vivendi and become an independent company.

Under a deal that was announced early Friday, Activision Blizzard and a group of investors led by the company’s management will buy back shares owned by Vivendi, the French conglomerate that controls the video game maker, leaving a majority of Activision Blizzard’s shares held by the investing public.

Activision Blizzard will buy about 429 million of its shares shares and certain tax attributes from Vivendi for roughly $5.83 billion in cash, or $13.60 a share, the company said. In addition, Robert A. Kotick, 50, the chief executive, and Brian Kelly, the co-chairman, are leading a group in buying about 172 million shares of the company from Vivendi for about $2.34 billion.

Vivendi will retain a stake of about 12 percent, or 83 million shares, in Activision Blizzard, the company said. Mr. Kotick will continue to lead the company and Mr. Kelly will become the sole chairman, according to the terms of the deal.

The deal represents the latest corporate maneuver for Mr. Kotick, an entrepreneur who, over more than two decades, has built Activision Blizzard into a giant with a market capitalization of nearly $17 billion.

He bought the company that would become Activision in 1990, when it was nearly bankrupt, and proceeded to raise money from investors. In 2008, Mr. Kotick led one of the biggest video game mergers in history when he combined Activision with the games division of Vivendi, a unit that mostly consisted of Blizzard Entertainment.

Activision Blizzard plans to finance the deal with about $1.2 billion of cash on hand and roughly $4.6 billion of debt, raised through the markets and bank financing. The company expects to have $1.4 billion of net debt after the deal, which is expected to close by the end of September.

This shouldn’t mean a thing in terms of Blizzard’s operations or games, and all of the Blizzard employees who have ever spoken about Activision have said nothing but nice things about management and working with Bobby’s minions. Which means it must be true!

Incidentally, ATVI stock has been doing well lately. It hovered in the $9.50 to 11 range from 2009-2012 before jumping up to $14~ earlier this year, and it’s sitting at $15.31 today, which isn’t far from off of its all time high, set back in 2008 just before the last big tech bubble burst. *Insert Bobby’s Eyes / RMAH joke here*

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17 thoughts on “Activision Buys Itself from Vivendi

  1. The eyes, anything but the eyes…

    Anyways at least they aren’t owned by vivendi anymore.

  2. Nice, as a manager buying company stock 10% below the market price. Instant win!

  3. Bobby Kotick is NOT an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs create value. Bobby, on the other hand, milks existing value until there’s nothing left to milk.

    • “He bought the company that would become Activision in 1990, when it was nearly bankrupt, and proceeded to raise money from investors. ”

      Just sounds like you’re jealous, to me.

      • Jealous?

        Jealous would imply that I would want to be in his situation. I was referring to what he does to make money from a gamer’s point of view. The guy is a parasite that feeds off of gamers. Everything he says and does reflects that. He openly thinks of gamers as people to take money off of and he really doesn’t care how.

        An entrepreneur, on the other hand, is more like a customer to their own products than a business person taking money off of the public. Entrepreneurs create value in what they make because they have a passion in what they make – a passion that goes far further than just making money. With Bobby, it’s only about money and the longevity of it coming in.

        • Yep, jealousy it is.

          Maybe one day you’ll be fortunate enough to stumble out of your ignorance and learn how corporations work and what management’s job is.

          • Yes we all yearn for the corporate **** of companies like EA and Activision to be driven deeper and deeper into our collective anal cavities. So that we too may gain a better understanding of how people do “business”.

          • *sigh* I’m not the one who’s ignorant here. I am fully aware of how corps are run. Activision is successful because of his leadership and management capability. He rebuilt the company from next to nothing. I don’t have an issue with that. It’s him being labelled an entrepreneur that gets me. He’s a mega manager, not an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have a whole different attitude to business.

          • Actually, yes you are.

            You have some weird idealized version of what “entrepreneur” means.

            Here’s a definition for you:
            A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

  4. His eyes seem like those of a beholder
    The name harbings incoming hatemaking
    He never tends to be the comforter
    Make money much longer
    Milk much longer.

    Damian Marley knew it all, because it was written…

  5. Honestly, this just says more about Vivendi than it does Kotick, Activision, or Blizzard. Vivendi has huge debt, and essentially sold off Actiblizzard to help cover it.

    As for the future of Blizzard? Well, can’t read the mind of Kotick. Some other gaming company may eventually swoop in a buy Actiblizzard down the road…at a lower price I’d think.

  6. Bobby’s eyes finally get another outing! They have been hidden away for far too long.

  7. Now if only Blizzard could buy itself from Activision,
    and the Diablo division could buy itself from the WoW part of Blizzard,
    and the PC team could buy itself from the console-oriented group,
    it would be ideal =/

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