Activision to spend billions to buy back Vivendi stake

Game giant Activision Blizzard is taking back the firm's controlling stake in deals worth more than $8 billion.

Activision Blizzard, publisher of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, is spending $5.83 billion to buy back roughly 429 million shares from majority shareholder Vivendi.

Activision announced Friday that it will acquire the shares for $13.60 each. In addition, ASAC II, led by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, will conduct a separate transaction to purchase another 172 million Activision shares for $2.34 billion.

Under the agreement, Vivendi will no longer be a majority shareholder but will retain 12 percent ownership -- a drop from 61.1 percent. ASAC II will own a stake of 24.9 percent.

The CEO and co-chairman have personally contributed $100 million to the deal.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision will fund the acquisition with $1.2 billion in cash and roughly $4.6 billion in debt. Banks including J.P. Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will contribute to the financing. Activision said the move represents a "tremendous opportunity for Activision and all its shareholders, including Vivendi" by building on the strength and flexibility of the publisher, as well as "preserving financial stability."

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    Charlie Osborne writes for ZDNet, SmartPlanet, and CNET. She is based in London and is a freelance journalist, designer, and photographer.

     

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