US publisher files emergency appeal to lift injunction before $8.2bn deal expires

Activision appeals block on Vivendi sale

Activision Blizzard and Vivendi have joined forces once again, this time for a legal battle that has barred a deal intended to separate the US publisher from the French media giant.

Last week the Delaware Chancery Court ruled in favor of shareholder Douglas Hayes, who alleged that an $8.2 billion deal that awarded a 25 percent stake in the company to CEO Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly constituted unjust enrichment.

The deal would have reduced the cash-strapped Vivendi’s share from 61 to 12 percent, making Activison Blizzard a publicly traded but independent entity.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that the two companies have filed an emergency appeal with the Delaware Supreme Court to get the deal back on track after the injunction barring further progress without a vote by non-Vivendi shareholders.

Vivendi says that since the deal was a share buyback the companies didn’t need the approval of shareholders.

“The injunction leaves Activision and its stockholders in limbo and at risk of losing an $8 billion deal that will return the company to public control," wrote lawyers for Activision.

The company claims that jeopardizing the sale is harmful to minority shareholders, and neither Activision nor Vivendi has means of obtaining a shareholder vote before the agreement expires on October 15.

The appeal is to get a hearing with the court on October 10.

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