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Activision Blizzard to become independent company, Vivendi sells majority stake

by Andrew Yoon, shacknews.com, Jul 25, 2013 10:30PM PDT

French conglomerate corporation Vivendi will no longer be the primary owner of Activision Blizzard. The company plans on selling most of it shares in the publisher, making Activision Blizzard an independent company with the majority of its shares publicly traded.

Vivendi had been interested in selling the publisher of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, with rumored suitors including Microsoft and Tencent. However, a majority of shares were purchased by ASAC II LP, an investment vehicle led by current Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

Both Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly have committed $100 million combined to ASAC II LIP, which will purchase about 172 million shares from Vivendi for about $2.34 billion in cash. Tencent is also part of this shareholding group.

Although Vivendi is selling most of its shares and will no longer be the primary owner of Activision Blizzard, they will still retain a 12% stake in the company, or approximately 83 million shares. ASAC II LP will control about 24.9%.

"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," CEO Bobby Kotick said in the announcement. "The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability."