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Vivendi-Activision deal gets EU nod

$9.85 bil merger will create new gaming giant

PARIS — The EU’s regulatory body, the European Commission, gave the go-ahead on Wednesday (April 16) for the merger of Vivendi’s games unit with California-based game developer Activision.

Announced in December pending regulatory approval, the complex $9.85 billion deal will give Vivendi a 52% stake in the new entity, to be called Activision Blizzard.

The new company, with projected annual revenues of $3.8 billion in its first operating year, looks likely to become the world’s biggest independent game publisher, eclipsing current industry supremo Electronic Arts.

The EC announced that “for all categories of game software, the combined firm would continue to face strong, effective competitors, such as Electronic Arts, and game console manufacturers such as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.”

NASDAQ-listed Activision has enjoyed global success in recent years with games such as “Guitar Hero” and “Call of Duty.” But the company has seen growth restricted due to its lack of online role-playing offerings — a sector now dominated by Vivendi subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraft”.

More than 10 million gamers worldwide are now “Warcraft” subscribers.

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