Microsoft sounded out about Activision Blizzard acquisition

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A number of possible suitors for Activision Blizzard have reportedly been sounded out about a possible deal by Vivendi executives.

Reuters reports that amongst the companies contacted are Microsoft, Time Warner and Chinese online giant Tencent, as well as a number of venture capitalists.

Although a formal process has not started, bankers close to Vivendi are sounding out cash-rich trade players,” it reports.

Microsoft certainly has the financial clout for a possible acquisition – and the lure of complete ownership of the lucrative Call of Duty franchise cannot be underestimated – but with Xbox 720 on the horizon its games business has quite understandably got its hands full.

"They probably don't want to distract themselves too much, but they are the ones who, if they want to stay in games, would think about owning some of these big franchises, not just providing the consoles," Reuters' source speculated.

Tencent is another interesting possibility. Activision recently signed a deal with the firm to bring a free-to-play online version of Call of Duty to China.