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Activision Blizzard, Inc (ATVI)

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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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)
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  • 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.
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  • May. 14, 2013, 5:33 PM
    Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) is still weighing potential deals to sell part of its ~60% stake in Activision (ATVI +3.1%), says CFO Philippe Capron. "The board continues to review a variety of different options, looking at ways to optimize the balance sheet." Vivendi hired bankers last year to find a buyer for its entire stake, but shelved the plan after failing to receive a decent offer. Wedbush speculated Vivendi might go for a leveraged recap deal featuring a giant debt offering and even bigger special dividend.
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  • Apr. 8, 2013, 4:47 PM
    Activision's (ATVI) Blizzard unit acquires the assets of IGN Pro League, a business dedicated to promoting covering competitive gaming (eSports), from IGN (JCOM). Blizzard says part of the IGN Pro League team will form a new Blizzard group focused on producing "high-quality web and mobile content in support of Blizzard games." The purchase could help Blizzard further promote its Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo franchises via competitive events.
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  • Aug. 16, 2012, 2:36 PM
    Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) may try to sell its 60% stake in Activision (ATVI +2.2%) back to the company after having failed to find a buyer, Bloomberg reports. But there are doubts such a move is feasible, particularly since Activision would probably have to borrow at least $5B to make it happen. Vivendi is also said to have hired bankers to evaluate options for Brazilian carrier GVT, as the conglomerate tries to reduce its telecom exposure. (earlier)
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  • Aug. 16, 2012, 10:07 AM
    Electronic Arts (EA +7.1%) has given up half the premarket gains it saw on a report it's in early talks with P-E firms. Take-Two Interactive (TTWO +3.1%), which once spurned a bid from EA, is getting a lift, but EA archrival Activision (ATVI +0.4%) isn't so fortunate. It was only two weeks ago reports emerged that Vivendi is shelving plans to sell its 60% stake in Activision due to a lack of interest. Will EA's smaller market cap and greater mobile/social exposure be enough to produce a different outcome?
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  • Aug. 3, 2012, 9:48 AM
    Speculation that Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) is reportedly shelving plans to find a buyer for its $8B, 61% stake in Activision (ATVI -5.7%) is followed by the latter selling off on account of its Q2 report, with strong sales of Skylanders merchandise outweighed by tepid guidance and a major drop in World of Warcraft subs. (ATVI transcript)
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  • Aug. 3, 2012, 4:48 AM
    Vivendi looks set to abandon plans for a quick sale of its 60% stake in Activision Blizzard (ATVI) after receiving no worthwhile offers for the computer gaming company, whose $13B value is too high for potential suitors, the FT reports. The speculation follows Activision's Q2 earnings beat yesterday. Vivendi is carrying out a broad review of its businesses and could sell Brazilian broadband operator GVT.
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  • Jul. 6, 2012, 1:55 PM
    Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) has reportedly hired an i-bank to gauge the market for 61%-owned Activision (ATVI -1.5%). It's added bankers are "sounding out" tech and media companies such as Tencent, Time Warner, and Microsoft, as well as P-E firms. Vivendi's efforts to sell Activision, first reported last week, are pivotal to its restructuring plans. But a buyer for the $13.3B company could be hard to come by, and many think a spin-off of Vivendi's stake is more likely. (earlier)
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  • Jun. 29, 2012, 4:03 PM
    Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) is seeking a buyer for its 61%, $8.1B stake in Activision (ATVI +4.4%), Bloomberg reports. It's added that if no buyer emerges, Vivendi will sell part of its stake on the open market. With Vivendi undergoing a CEO shake-up and chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou under pressure to restructure, other asset sales could also be on the way.
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  • Jun. 7, 2012, 3:49 PM
    Vivendi (VIVHY.PK +2%) reportedly is considering reorganization options, including the potential sale of all or part of its 61% stake in videogame publisher Activision (ATVI -2.5%). Unclear is what Vivendi might do with any proceeds from selling the ATVI stake, who might be interested in buying it, or whether a such move would lead to an acquisition of the company in whole.
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  • Apr. 26, 2012, 2:04 PM
    Wedbush's Michael Pachter isn't buying rumors Asian online gaming giant Nexon will buy Electronic Arts (EA +6.9%). With a current market cap of $5.3B, EA would be very tough for Nexon ($8B market cap) to swallow. In addition, employee defections would be huge, Nexon's CEO (owns over 50% of shares) doesn't want to relinquish control, and Nexon has no experience in many of EA's core markets. Also rallying on the rumor: ATVI +2.5%. ZNGA +3.6%. GLUU +3.7%.
    | 3 Comments
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Company Description
Activision Blizzard Inc is an online, personal computer, video game console, tablet, handheld, and mobile game publisher. It has three operating segments: - Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Activision Blizzard Distribution.