Gaming software giants Activision and Vivendi have committed to merge as part of a US$18.9bn deal that will create the biggest gaming publisher on the planet.
The combined entity of Activision – which is behind game franchises like Guitar Hero and Call of Duty – and Vivendi – which is behind the World of Warcraft franchise – will be known as Activision Blizzard.
As part of the deal Vivendi will contribute US$8.1bn, plus US$1.7bn in cash in exchange for a 52pc stake in Activision Blizzard. Meanwhile Activision will launch a US$4bn tender to buy up to 146.5 million of its own shares. The total transaction is valued at US$18.9bn.
“This is an outstanding transaction for Activision and our stockholders, as well as a pivotal event in the continuing transformation of the interactive entertainment industry,” said Activision CEO and chairman Bobby Kotick.
By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences.
“By joining forces with Vivendi Games, we will become the immediate leader in the highly profitable online games business and gain a large footprint in the rapidly growing Asian markets, including China and Korea, while maintaining our leading operating performance across North America and Europe,” Kotick said.
Earlier this year it emerged that Activision bought Irish games middleware player DemonWare as part of an estimated €15m deal.
By John Kennedy