We're talking some major dollar signs here, and the result is a newly independent company.
As GamesIndustry.biz reports , Activision Blizzard has become its own independent company, as CEO Bobby Kotick leads an investor buyout from Vivendi that is worth a whopping $8.2 billion. Yes, billion.
The Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher will buy 439 million shares from Vivendi for $5.83 billion, and an investment group headed by Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly will pick up another 172 million shares for $2.34 million. So, with Vivendi no longer being a major stakeholder, Activision Blizzard will be on its own, led by Kotick and Kelly. Their investment group includes Chinese operator Tencent, Davis Advisors and Leonard Green & Partners. Said Kotick:
"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. 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."
Kotick added that their franchises have generated over $5.4 billion in operating cash flow and more than $4 billion of that has been returned to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. Of course, we'd replace "best-in-class franchise portfolio" with simply "most popular franchise portfolio" but hey, we're just trying to be accurate. Anyway, Kotick's investment group will hold nearly 25% of the company, as Kotick and Kelly have invested about $100 million of their own money. Vivendi will continue to hold about half that: 12% of the shares.
Big news, big money.