Activision Blizzard, IncNASDAQ
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  • Tue, Feb. 23, 3:05 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (ATVI -2.9%) completed its acquisition of King Digital Entertainment (NYSE:KING) today, laying claim to the world's largest game network and boasting 500M users.
    • The deal closed for $5.9M in equity value ($18/share for King -- a premium over its pre-deal closing, but below its IPO price of $22.50). King will operate as an independent unit under the continuing leadership of CEO Riccardo Zacconi, COO Stephane Kurgan, and Chief Creative Officer Sebastian Knutsson.
    • The purchase fills a mobile hole in Activision's lineup: Mobile games accounted for 19% of total spending on videogame software in the 12 months up to September. And it lets Activision work on mobile talent internally rather than going to partners.
    • Activision's projecting 2016 non-GAAP revenues of $6.25B, operating income of more than $2B, and EPS of $1.75 (just light of consensus expectations for $1.79).
    • Previously: Activision Blizzard holds on to Buy ratings despite poor Q4 (Feb. 17 2016)
    • Previously: Activision Blizzard tanks 16% as earnings, outlook disappoint (Feb. 11 2016)
    | Tue, Feb. 23, 3:05 PM | 13 Comments
  • Fri, Feb. 12, 12:37 PM
    | Fri, Feb. 12, 12:37 PM
  • Mon, Feb. 8, 5:48 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (ATVI -5.9%) says in an 8-K that it's satisfied another of the terms related to its takeover of King Digital Entertainment (NYSE:KING) with clearance from South Korean regulators.
    • The Fair Trade Commission of the Republic of Korea has given the OK to the $5.9B deal, leaving just a few steps left.
    • The company must satisfy an EU Merger Regulation condition, and get sanction from the High Court of Ireland (where King is based) at a hearing set for Feb. 18. Activision says the scheme of arrangement is expected to take effect Feb. 23.
    • Activision shares are up 0.5% after hours.
    | Mon, Feb. 8, 5:48 PM | 8 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 15, 10:45 AM
    | Fri, Jan. 15, 10:45 AM | 5 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 5:33 PM
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 5:33 PM | 4 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 12:11 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (ATVI -3.2%) got a jump on the new year with another boost to its e-sports ambitions, reportedly taking over Major League Gaming for $46M as others counted down to midnight.
    • Activision had hired MLG's Mike Sepso away in October to serve as senior VP of its new e-sports division, and the companies have worked together on the Call of Duty Championship over the past five years. as well as on Blizzard titles like World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm.
    • MLG had reportedly discussed a sale in the fall (possibly to Yahoo) but was unable to find a buyer.
    • Activision will get a recognized brand in the deal along with infrastructure: MLG has a physical and online tournament structure as well as a streaming platform in
    • Previously: Activision creates e-sports division to be headed by former ESPN CEO (Oct. 22 2015)
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 12:11 PM | 1 Comment
  • Nov. 5, 2015, 3:41 PM
    | Nov. 5, 2015, 3:41 PM | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 4, 2015, 3:53 PM
    • As analyst takes pile up, some bullishness is rolling in for Activision Blizzard (ATVI +2.7%) following news of its $5.9B deal to acquire King Digital (KING -0.5%) -- a price tag that has stirred debate over whether Activision overpaid.
    • Cowen's Doug Creutz had called the deal a "steal" yesterday. Wedbush raised its price target on Activision to $47, from $37, reiterating an Outperform rating, and sees a "mobile powerhouse" coming from a combo that "makes eminent sense."
    • Activision gains a lot by buying mobile development rather than spending a decade to build it out, Wedbush says. The firm believes the addressable market for mobile games is close to $24B now, and could grow 15-20% a year over the next five.
    • With Activision currently trading at $36.78, Wedbush's target implies 27.8% upside.
    • Pacific Crest calls this "one of the most 'Activision' of Activision deals it has ever done," pointing to 30% accretion to 2016 earnings and unlocking overseas cash. Activision will use $3.6B in offshore cash along with a term loan to seal the deal.
    • The firm says modest growth at King may be inconsequential in the long run. It boosted its price target on Activision to $41 from $31 (implied 11.5% upside from current price) and maintains an Overweight rating.
    • Previously: ATVI down -2.8% after 'steal' in King deal; GLUU, ZNGA higher (Nov. 03 2015)
    • Previously: Activision earnings: Solid beat on top and bottom lines, record digital revenue (Nov. 02 2015)
    • Previously: Activision Blizzard to acquire King Digital for $5.9B (Nov. 02 2015)
    | Nov. 4, 2015, 3:53 PM
  • Nov. 3, 2015, 9:50 AM
    • Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is off 2.8% in the wake of last night's surprise announcement that it was buying Candy Crush Saga regents King Digital (KING +14.1%) for $5.9B.
    • Cowen's Doug Creutz reiterated his Outperform rating on Activision, calling the deal "an absolute steal for Activision" that "immediately vaults them to being one of the top mobile gaming companies in the world." He has a $35 price target on the stock; just over 4% upside from today's trading of $33.60.
    • Meanwhile, Jim Cramer says "If [Activision chief Bobby Kotick] says this is a good deal, it's a good deal."
    • With the deal, King may have "solved" its dilemma of how to keep converting players into payers, as the company never quite got beyond the dependence on a single franchise (however lucrative).
    • King's mobile and social game rivals are trading up on the acquisition news as well; Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) is up 5.2% in early going, while Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is up 2.5%. Majesco Entertainment (NASDAQ:COOL) is up 6.3%.
    | Nov. 3, 2015, 9:50 AM | 18 Comments
  • Nov. 2, 2015, 10:47 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) has announced a deal to acquire King Digital Entertainment (NYSE:KING), makers of Candy Crush Saga and other mobile games, for $5.9B in equity value.
    • The company posted its earnings as well, logging non-GAAP revenues of $1.04B and EPS of $0.21.
    • The deal for King represents $5B in enterprise value. At $18 in cash per share, it's a 20% premium over King's Oct. 30 closing price and a 15.8% premium over today's close (King shares gained 4% to $15.54 today).
    • Both boards have unanimously approved the deal -- a scheme of arrangement under Irish law -- and so it heads to approval by King shareholders and the Irish High Court, with closing expected by Spring 2016.
    • Activision's cash portion will be funded by $3.6B of offshore cash on its balance sheet and a term loan under an existing $2.3B credit agreement.
    • Activision and King will host a call at 8 a.m. ET tomorrow to discuss the acquisition and answer questions.
    • Deal summary presentation
    | Nov. 2, 2015, 10:47 PM | 16 Comments
  • Aug. 29, 2014, 11:29 AM
    • Take-Two (TTWO +4.1%) president Karl Slatoff says his company is weighing the pros and cons of bringing Grand Theft Auto to the big screen. He adds Take-Two doesn't think a weak box office showing would hurt the GTA game franchise.
    • Dan Houser, the co-founder of GTA developer Rockstar Games, also appears open to doing a GTA movie. However, he insists Rockstar would want to make the film on its own.
    • Benchmark's Mike Hickey thinks a GTA film makes sense, and that it could compel Activision (ATVI +0.3%), rumored to be hatching plans for its own movie studio, to acquire Take-Two.
    • Hickey calls an Activision/Take-Two deal a "no-brainer," given Take-Two's developer talent, IP, and low valuation. He notes Activision can lower its business volatility by staggering Rockstar, Bungie, and Blizzard releases, and that Take-Two could help offset World of Warcraft's ongoing decline and Skylanders competition from Disney.
    | Aug. 29, 2014, 11:29 AM | 4 Comments
  • Oct. 11, 2013, 4:33 PM
    • A day after Delaware's Supreme Court cleared the way for the deals to proceed, Activision (ATVI +0.2%) says it has closed its $5.83B, $13.60/share leveraged recap deal with Vivendi (VIVHY.PK), and that Vivendi's sale of $2.34B in shares (also at $13.60/share) to an investment group led by Activision's CEO and co-chairman has also been finished. (PR)
    • Not surprisingly, Activision predicts the leveraged recap, which was financed via $4.75B in debt (average interest rate below 5%) and $1.2B in existing cash, will be immediately accretive to EPS.
    • The two deals leave the investment group, which also features private investment firms and Chinese online gaming giant Tencent (TCEHY.PK), with a 24.7% stake in Activision. Vivendi retains a 12% stake.
    | Oct. 11, 2013, 4:33 PM
  • Oct. 10, 2013, 2:35 PM
    • Delaware's Supreme Court has overturned a September lower court ruling requiring Activision (ATVI +3.8%) to put its $5.8B leveraged recap deal with Vivendi and the $2.3B purchase of Vivendi-owned Activision shares by the company's CEO and co-chairman to a shareholder vote.
    • The deal, which (judging the market's reaction to the initial announcement) would likely have been overwhelmingly approved by shareholders, is now free to move forward without a vote.
    | Oct. 10, 2013, 2:35 PM
  • Sep. 18, 2013, 5:53 PM
    • A Delaware court has halted the closing of Activision's (ATVI) $5.83B leveraged recap deal with Vivendi (VIVHY.PK), as well as the concurrent purchase of $2.34B in Activision shares from Vivendi by Activision's CEO and co-chairman. The injunction can be lifted either by a successful appeal, or a shareholder vote involving Activision investors not named Vivendi.
    • Given Activision shares soared when the deals were announced, one would think shareholders would sign off on them.
    • Activision recently raised $2.5B to help pay for the leveraged recap deal.
    | Sep. 18, 2013, 5:53 PM
  • Jul. 26, 2013, 2:24 AM

    Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) has agreed to sell 85% of its stake in Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to the computer-games company and its management for $8.2B. Activision will buy back 429M shares from Vivendi for $5.83B, using $1.2B of cash and debt of $4.6B, while a consortium led by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and co-Chairman Brian Kelly will acquire 172M shares for $2.34B. The value of the deal is $13.60 a share, or a 10% discount to Activision's close on Thursday of $15.18. Vivendi, which also plans to sell its holding in Maroc Telecom, will retain a stake of 12% in Activision after the deal is closed. (PR)

    | Jul. 26, 2013, 2:24 AM | 6 Comments
  • Jul. 22, 2013, 4:25 AM

    Vivendi (VIVEF.PK) is reportedly expected to discuss plans at a board meeting today for Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to pay a special dividend of over $3B. With a 60% holding in the video-games company, Vivendi would receive $2B, although Activision would have to raise debt to pay for the dividend. Vivendi's directors will also talk about a sale of its controlling stake in in North African phone operator Maroc Telecom (MAOTF.PK) for about $5.5B plus debt to Emirates Telecom. The money will allow Vivendi to reduce its €13.19B debt and could presage a spin-off of its SFR French phone operator subsidiary.

    | Jul. 22, 2013, 4:25 AM