Vivendi Reels in Activision; New Largest Games Publisher Formed

Videndi CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy and Activision CEO Robert Kotick brought Christmas early to their respective companies by announcing a deal that will combine Activision and Vivendi lGames into a new mega-publisher: Activision Blizzard. The new publisher will have control over several top selling franchises: Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft.

Under the agreement, Vivendi Games will convert its equity into Activision shares valued at $8.1 billion plus throw in an additional $1.7 billion in cash for a 52% stake in the new company. At a new value of $18.9 billion, Activision Blizzard will surpass the estimated $17.7 billion worth of Electronic Arts, making them the new world’s largest video game company.

This consolidation will no doubt open many eyes in the industry as to what the future may hold. Ubisoft and Take-Two Interactive have long been named in potential buy-out offers, only to have their executives quickly stomp out any rumors before they run out of control. Electronic Arts won’t be happy to learn they’re in the number two spot, and adding either Ubisoft or Take-Two would substantially boost their position. “We wish them luck. We look forward to the competition and believe that EA still has the strongest portfolio of perennial game franchises,” said Jeff Brown, spokesman for Electronic Arts, regarding the deal.

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