World-Of-Warcraft

Vivendi retains 12% share in vidgames company

In a bold strategic move, Vivendi is selling 85% of its interest in Activision Blizzard, the group’s main profit driver, for $8.2 billion.

Activision Blizzard, the powerhouse behind such hit games franchises as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,”  is acquiring the majority of the shares ($5.83 billion), while a consortium of leading investors (ASAC LP), including Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly, is acquiring $2.34 billion.

The deal, expected to close by the end of September, allows Vivendi to retain a 12% stake in the games company. Vivendi currently has a 61% stake. ASAC LP will own 24.9% of the capital.

Vivendi said it “expects to benefit from further upside at Activision Blizzard through its remaining stake,” and will use “part of the cash proceeds from the transaction to strengthen Vivendi’s balance sheet and  maintain its BBB/Baa2 rating.”

“This transaction represents an important step forward in the strategic review conducted by the Vivendi  Supervisory Board over the last year,” said Jean-Francois Dubos, chairman of the Vivendi management board. “It provides the group with greater financial flexibility and creates value for our shareholders.”

Philippe Capron, Activision Blizzard board chairman and Vivendi CFO, said, “This deal is definitely a win-win (…) for minority shareholders. Vivendi will be able to leverage thanks to the immediate proceeds, and will also benefit from further value creation as it remains a 12% shareholder.”

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