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Old Dec 3, 2007, 09:35 AM   #1
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Arrow Activision, Vivendi Merge to Form Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard to create "world's largest, most profitable" videogame publisher.

Activision and Vivendi Games announced on Sunday a merger of the two companies to form Activision Blizzard. The latter half of the company name obviously comes from Blizzard Entertainment, developers of the wildly popular Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo franchises, a division of Vivendi Games.

With the combined forces of Activision and Vivendi, Activision Blizzard is expected to have approximately $3.8 billion in pro forma combined calendar 2007, potentially overtaking EA with the highest operating margins of any major third-party video game publisher.

Under the terms of the merger, shares of Vivendi Games will be converted into 295.3 million new shares of Activision common stock. Vivendi will also purchase 62.9 million newly issued shares of Activision common stock at a price of $27.50 per share for a total of $1.7 billion in cash. As a result of these transactions, Vivendi will own an approximate 52 percent ownership stake in Activision Blizzard on a fully diluted basis.

Shortly following the closing transaction, the newly formed company will launch a $4 billion all-cash tender offer to purchase up to 146.5 million Activision Blizzard common shares funded by the company’s cash on hand at closing, including the $1.7 billion in cash received from the Vivendi share purchase. Vivendi will also acquire from Activision Blizzard additional newly issued shares for up to an additional $700 million of Activision common stock at $27.50 per share. The proceeds would also be used to fund the tender offer, which could lead Vivendi to own an approximate 68 percent stake in Activision Blizzard on a fully diluted basis.

Current Activision boss Robert Kotick will be the president and CEO of Activision Blizzard, while Vivendi CEO Bruce Hack will serve as vice-chairman and COO of Activision Blizzard. Mike Griffith will oversee Activision Publishing, which after closing will include the Sierra Entertainment, Sierra Online and Vivendi Games Mobile divisions. Mike Morhaime will remain at his position as president and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment.

Source: DailyTech

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