Public is majority shareholder after $8.2bn stock buyout

Activision goes independent from Vivendi

Activision-Blizzard has bought itself out from under French conglomerate Vivendi in a series of stock purchases totaling $8.2 billion.

The company formed in 2007 after a merger between Blizzard owner Vivendi Games and Activision.

When the $18 billion deal was finalised in 2008, Vivendi was the majority 52 per cent shareholder.

At midnight Friday Activision-Blizzard revealed that it had bought up most of these shares, leaving Vivendi with just a 12 per cent stake in the company.

As of now, Activision is an independent entity with the majority of shares owned by the investing public.

"These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi,” said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.

“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."

The largest purchase, 429 million shares, was made by Activision-Blizzard for $5.83 billion.

Kotick himself lead a group of investors that purchased 172 million shares for about $2.3 billion, and along with co-chairman Brian Kelly contributed $100 million of their own combined money.

The ASAC II LP group lead by Kotick and Kelly and including Davis Advisors, Leonard Green & Partners, and game company Tencent, is now a 25 percent shareholder.

A special conference call will be held this morning at 8:30 A.M. EST to discuss the move.

In addition to its new independence, the company announced preliminary second quarter revenues of $1 billion, with non-GAAP net revenues of about $608 million.

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