Activision Blizzard Split from Vivendi; Ownership Returned to Shareholders

Orchestrated by Activision Blizzard senior management and funded in part by $100 million from CEO Bobby Kotick and Board of Directors Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, Activision Blizzard will separate from parent corporation Vivendi. The World of Warcraft and Call of Duty publisher has bought itself out by snapping up 439 million shares from Vivendi, in a $5.83 million deal.

The $100 million push from a Kotick and Kelly led investor group will see control of the company returned to shareholders. This makes one of the largest video game publishers in the world independant. Not unheard of, considering Valve remains private. Vivendi will remain a large holder, with a 12% minority stake in the company. Other major investors that helped finance the deal include Chinese WoW operator Tencent, Davis Advisors and Leonard Green & Partners. Under the buyout, Kelly will become the sole chairman.

The overall transaction values the human, physical capital and intellectual property of Activision Blizzard at $8.2 billion. As many of you are likely aware, Activision and Blizzard merged some five years ago. Vivendi announced in May that it was exploring a “variety of options” to sell the company. Everyone from Microsoft to Disney was interested.

As always, Kotick has high expectations. “These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi,” said Kotick.