Activision, Electronic Arts Deals Bring Video Consolidation Closer

 |  Includes: ATVI, EA, TTWO
by: Tiernan Ray

The video game business came closer to consolidating into a couple large, dominant firms Tuesday. Shareholders of video game maker Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI)  voted 92% to approve the company’s combination with the games unit of French media giant Vivendi for approximately $8 billion, Activision said in a statement. The deal gives Vivendi 52% ownership of Activision and 54% of the shares outstanding. Vivendi makes the World of Warcraft Series, Activision makes Guitar Hero. Activision will continue to trade under the ticker “ATVI” once the deal closes, and will be renamed as “Activision Blizzard.” The transaction is expected to close on July 9. The combination was originally announced last Dec. 3rd. The price to Vivendi for Activision shares is $27.50. Activision shares closed down 29 cents, or 1%, this afternoon at $31.72 and were unchanged in the aftermarket.

Meantime, Electronic Arts (ERTS), the biggest US video game maker, said in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission that it is in “substantial compliance” with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s request for information in EA’s hostile bid for game maker Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), announced back on March 13. And after previously extending the deadline of its tender offer for Take-Two to July 18, EA says in the current filing it will not consummate its tender offer for Take-Two before Aug. 21 or the completion of the FTC’s investigation of its bid, whichever comes first. A Reuters report Tuesday afternoon quotes Webush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter as saying that the mention of the Aug. 21 deadline puts a more definite timeline on the tender offer.

Take-Two shares Tuesday afternoon closed at $24.47 versus EA’s offer price of $25.74. EA shares closed up $1.94, or 4.4%, at $46.32.