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Vivendi having trouble finding a suitor for Activision Blizzard - report
Vivendi having trouble finding a suitor for Activision Blizzard - report
July 13, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

July 13, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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    31 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Earlier this week, reports emerged that Vivendi had entered talks with a number of major companies to sell off its majority stake in Activision Blizzard, but at the moment, those potential buyers aren't showing much interest.

According to Bloomberg, anonymous sources claim that Vivendi has spoken with companies including Microsoft, Disney, and Take-Two, though at the moment, none of these organizations are ready or willing to purchase the World of Warcraft and Call of Duty publisher.

In addition, Vivendi reportedly approached China's Tencent and Japan's Nexon, though sources claim that neither company could afford Activision Blizzard, as Vivendi is seeking a full cash sale up-front.

When asked whether the Activision Blizzard sale is really happening, Vivendi chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou only said, "It’s a possibility." Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, meanwhile, was coy about the future of his business, and told press, "It's great weather."

Be sure to keep an eye on Gamasutra as the story develops, as we'll continue to provide coverage as new details come to light.


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Comments


John Woznack
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Alright, I'll bid $100.00. (Now stop complaining that no one is bidding.)

Josh Gibson
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Doesn't Activision Blizzard own Crash? I'll outbid you John Woznack with $200.00.

Christopher Enderle
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Wasn't Midway sold for like, $100k + it's debt? I wonder how a panicked sale of ATVI might affect other companies invested in the game industry. I mean, if Call of Duty and Diablo can't survive in today's/tomorrow's market...

E McNeill
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Activision is not underwater. They're doing fine.

The Le
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@Hossi Blumengaarten: That's because ED BOON is a total hack. I don't know why he's still being hired to make games...

Philip Wilson
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"Great weather" umm...if that statement was from the last day or so, then the weather has been rather strange & humid the last 2 days. Sounds like someone is bad at denying rumored stories ;)

Alan Rimkeit
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Oh let me count the reasons that Blizzard should have never sold out to Activision. :(

"Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, meanwhile, was coy about the future of his business, and told press, "It's great weather."

Great weather? For who? Majority share holders who could walk away from this with bags of cash? Yeah, I want to know what the Blizzard heads are all saying in their private office meetings. I would pay cash money to be a fly on that wall right now. I also want to know what the Blizzard underlings are all saying too. This must be kind of scary in a way. Uncertain future and all that.

Joe McGinn
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Bliizard did not "sell out to Activision". Vivendi owns them both.

Derrick Lim
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Bobby Kotick is probably one of the reasons why. No one wants to have to deal with him.

Freek Hoekstra
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if one holds a majority stake in the company that should not be an issue.
anyways, i'm curious why vivendi wants to sell at all, Activision is the one publisher who is really raking in the money, why would you want to get rid of such a profitable asset?
what do they know we don't (or atleast think they know)

now why others aren't buying is probably due to the giant sum of money Vivendi wants.
or they asked the same question I just did, what is wrong with this publisher if Vivendi wants to seel something that is making that much money

Dustin Chertoff
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@Freek Vivendi wants to sell because the rest of their company is bleeding money. Act-Bliz is something profitable that they can get good money for in order to pay down debts and make investments in the other media areas. Vivendi's stock has taken a major hit the last year and they need money. Sometimes you have to sell something you'd rather keep in order to raise money.

Adam Rebika
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Well, when a company wants to sell their presumably most profitable branch, most potential buyers wonder if there isn't something wrong with said branch...

Maria Jayne
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Maybe they aren't just wondering.

Brett Grantham
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I'm curious why nobody has mentioned Netease as a potential buyer? Activision already enjoys a symbiotic relationship with Netease who hold the Chinese distribution rights for WOW, Starcraft and possibly Diablo.
Netease has over $13 billion in cash and short term investments on hand.

However Netease would be wise to keep an eye on a different prize as EA is trading at very low historic multiples. The Origin distribution platform might be of greater value than ATVI's IP if Netease has ambitions to grow outside of China. I would guess that they could attract sufficient interest from EA share holders with a $20 tender.

Jonathan Murphy
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Why do they need to merge/sellout? Can't Activision just stand on it's own? Is their some massive company collapse coming? I heard a rumor they unloaded Radical Entertainment to lower their company price.

Craig Timpany
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Could someone better versed in business explain to me how Take Two could be a suitor? They're trying to sell an $8B stake, and TTWO's total market cap is ~$800M.

Harlan Sumgui
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Leveraged buyout. however, finding a lender will be difficult because of the lack of hard (physical) assets.

Bob Charone
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market cap is the price of a company, not how much cash they have.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Brett Grantham
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Ya I'm sick of corporate produced AAA games. I'm done with BF3..... where is my Angry Birds game?

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

J Brian Smith
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Blizzard has an extremely high burn rate, D3 didn't work out, and the WoW train is finally starting to slow down. The Blizzard brand is still extremely valuable, and there's a ton of great talent there, but they may dip into the red at some point before the next big wave of products, and they may have to shrink a bit.
Call of Duty is still a super valuable brand & franchise, but it's getting a bit long in the tooth and of course they lost the core talent that was driving it.
Vivendi is trying to offload the asset at the peak of its value, but it sounds like they're too late and suitors are low-balling them.

Nicholas MacDonald
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D3 didn't work out? Are you feeling all right? Diablo III is performing extremely well, and it also happened to be the fastest selling PC game of all time. I'd call that pretty awesome.

Arthur Tam
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That was before all of the issues, and then people started to realize that the game didn't have much in terms of replayability. It is hard to determine whether or not people will bother to stick around long enough to get to the advanced features, like the marketplace or pvp. Not having either at launch really hurt them.

Nicholas MacDonald
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@Arthur

I think you're making the mistake of thinking the vocal minority on the forums is reflective of the game's overall health. It's absolutely true that there is a subset of players that are dissatisfied, but the game itself is still performing very very well, and it's unlikely that will change in the immediate future thanks to the massive audience D3 now has.

Arthur Tam
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Vivendi seems intent on dropping their shares for SOME reason, though...if D3 is a stable cash cow instead of a game that will peter out before it reaches its full potential (like say, KOTOR mmo), it is rather strange that they would not be interested in sticking around for the goods.

Dustin Chertoff
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@Arthur

It's not because of something wrong with Act-Bliz, but more about what's wrong with the rest of Vivendi. Keep in mind Vivendi is itself a publicly traded company. Vivendi's other media related holdings are not doing well, and its share price has taken a hit. They need money to keep their core media/telecom business out of debt and growing. So they are selling AB to make money to invest in other parts of the business that they would rather be invested in.

Jeffery Wilson
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Maybe they will "spin-off" Blizzard as a sperate company, thats the real cash cow, even though they are losing subscrptions. Possible spin of the part that owns MW as a company, they would likely make more cash from those sales.

The Le
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Typically a company sells off it's greatest and most profitable assets because they are in financial trouble. If Vivendi is shopping Act/Blizz around, it means vivendi is not doing too well as a whole.

Thomas Grove
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Blizzard should buy Activision/Blizzard.

Megan Quinn
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I don't like what Microsoft did to Ensemble, I don't like what Act-without-vision did to Infinity Ward. I love Blizzard. I wants me some Pandas with a Heart of the Swarm shake please, hold the Kotick and Mirco sprinkles, they ruin the flavor.


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