Activision Blizzard Splits From Vivendi In $8.2 Billion Deal

Activision Blizzard is splitting from parent company Vivendi to become its very own publicly traded company. The gaming company’s managers orchestrated the transaction, which involved a $8.2 billion purchase of shares from Vivendi.

The deal was announced late Thursday. While Activision Blizzard is purchasing about 439 million shares from its French media parent, Vivendi will still retain a 12 percent stake.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the majority of the company’s shares will still be held by the public. Investors involved in the transaction include Davis Advisors, Leonerd Green & Partners, Tencent, and ASAC II — an investment group started by Activision Blizzard’s Chief Executive Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly.

The two top officials contributed a combined $100 million of their own money to purchase shares of the gaming company. Activision Blizzard is the largest video game company in the world. Its collection includes titles like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

While Vivendi will retain a 12 percent stake in Activision Blizzard, it is expected that the parent company’s representatives on the Activision board will step down, notes The Guardian. In a statement released on Thursday, Kotick stated of the deal:

“These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi. We should emerge even stronger — an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio and the focus and flexibility to drive long-term shareholder value and expand our leadership position as one of the world’s most important entertainment companies.”

Kotick added in an interview that the transaction will benefit public shareholders. He explained, “The commitment that we have from Vivendi to continue as a shareholder shows their enthusiasm for the business. My investment shows I’m committed and enthusiastic about the prospects of the business.”

It is likely the sale of Activision Blizzard was one way for Vivendi to reduce its debt, which is reported to be about $17 billion.