Activision Blizzard merger could mean a lot of good things for the future of Blizzard games. Using Activision resources Blizzard could now have a broader console department infrastructure. World of Warcraft on Consoles? Improbable, but possible. More personnel to work on Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft games and new IPs. The new Activision Blizzard publisher launched its new website. Ordin also posted a FAQ surrounding the Activision Blizzard merger.
Ordin: We’re pleased to announce that along with the other companies that make up Vivendi Games, we are merging with Activision to form a new global entertainment organization called Activision Blizzard (pending shareholder and regulatory approval). Similar to our previous arrangement, Blizzard Entertainment will now operate as a division of this new organization.
There will be no changes to our games, our websites, our personnel, or our day-to-day operations as a result of the deal. However, this combining of resources will benefit all of the companies involved and will further strengthen Blizzard’s ability to continue delivering high-quality content for our players around the world for many years to come. To learn more about this exciting new development, please read our Activision Blizzard FAQ:
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FAQ
Q: What are the details of the deal?
A: Under the terms of an agreement with Vivendi, Blizzard and the other companies that make up Vivendi Games will combine with Activision to form a new public company called Activision Blizzard. We do not anticipate any difference in Blizzard’s operations as a result of the combination. Joining forces with Activision will create a stronger and more diversified company that we anticipate will benefit and strengthen both brands.
Q: What will happen to the Blizzard brand name?
A: The Blizzard brand name will stay the same as it’s always been: Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Q: What will change with regard to the day-to-day operations at Blizzard?
A: There will be no changes in the way Blizzard operates. All of the people, processes, and philosophies that have made Blizzard so successful will be preserved. Blizzard will benefit from all-star sales and distribution teams to service our products. In addition, the combined company will be stronger financially, managerially, and operationally.
Q: How will this impact Blizzard’s games?
A: This will not impact Blizzard’s games. We remain committed to providing the same high-quality game content and support that we always have. Development on Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II, as well as on our unannounced games, is continuing as normal.
Q: Will there be any visible differences in Blizzard’s logo or packaging/marketing materials as a result of this deal?
A: No, there won’t be any changes to our company name, logo, packaging/marketing materials, or anything else along those lines.
Q: Will there be any management changes at Blizzard as a result of this deal?
A: No, there won’t be any management changes at Blizzard as a result of the combination.
Q: Will Activision and Blizzard now share development teams?
A: No, both of our companies will continue to operate as they have previously with regard to game development.
Q: Will the release schedules for any Blizzard games be impacted?
A: No, the transaction will not have any impact on our games, our day-to-day operations, or our release timelines.
Q: Will any of Blizzard’s offices close as a result of the deal? Or, will any new offices open?
A: No, all of our offices will continue to function as they have, and we don’t foresee the need to open any new offices for the time being.
Q: Will any employees move to different offices as a result of the deal?
A: We don’t anticipate making any such moves as a result of the deal.
Q: Does this deal include Activision’s and Blizzard’s international offices?
A: Yes, every part of our companies in the U.S. and abroad is involved in this deal.
Q: If Activision Blizzard is a public company, does that mean I’ll now be able to buy stock in Blizzard?
A: Activision will be renamed Activision Blizzard, Inc and will continue to be a publicly listed company traded on NASDAQ. You will be able to buy stock in the combined company.
Q: When will the transaction be complete?
A: The transaction is subject to approval of Activision shareholders, customary closing conditions, and regulatory approvals. Pending approval, the companies expect the transaction to be completed by mid 2008.
VIVENDI AND ACTIVISION TO CREATE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD – WORLD’S LARGEST, MOST PROFITABLE PURE-PLAY VIDEO GAME PUBLISHER
Combination Brings Activision’s Best-Selling Video Games, Including Guitar Hero®, Call of Duty®, and Tony Hawk, Together With Vivendi Games’ Portfolio of Leading Franchises, Including Crash BandicootTM and SpyroTM, and Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft®, Diablo® and Global #1 Subscription-Based World Of Warcraft®
Vivendi to Contribute Vivendi Games Valued at $8.1 Billion, Plus $1.7 Billion in Cash in Exchange for Approximately 52% Stake in Activision Blizzard at Closing; Total Transaction Valued at $18.9 Billion
Activision Blizzard Will Commence Post-Closing Cash Tender Offer for Up to 146.5 Million of its Shares at $27.50 per Share, Representing 31% Premium for Activision Stockholders Based on 20-Trading Day Average Transaction Will Unlock Value of Blizzard Entertainment’s Massively Multiplayer Online Games Business and Will Be Accretive to Stockholders of Activision and Vivendi _______________________________________________________________
December 2, 2007 (Santa Monica, Calif. and Paris, France) – Activision, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) and Vivendi (Euronext Paris: VIV) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to combine Vivendi Games, Vivendi’s interactive entertainment business—which includes Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft®, the world’s #1 multi-player online role-playing game franchise—with Activision, creating the world’s largest pure-play online and console game publisher. The new company, Activision Blizzard, is expected to have approximately $3.8 billion in pro forma combined calendar 2007 revenues and the highest operating margins of any major third-party video game publisher. On closing of the transaction, Activision will be renamed Activision Blizzard and will continue to operate as a public company traded on NASDAQ under the ticker ATVI.
Activision, one of the world’s leading independent publishers of interactive entertainment, is best known for its top- selling franchises, including Guitar Hero®, Call of Duty® and the Tony Hawk series, as well as Spider- Man™, X-Men™, Shrek®, James Bond™ and TRANSFORMERS™. Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Vivendi Games, has projected calendar 2007 revenues of $1.1 billion, operating margins of over 40% and approximately $520 million of operating profit. Blizzard owns the #1 multi-player online role-playing game franchise, World of Warcraft, which currently has over 9.3 million subscribers worldwide. Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, Warcraft®, StarCraft® and Diablo® games account for four of the top-five best-selling PC game titles of all time. Vivendi Games also owns popular franchises, including Crash Bandicoot™ and Spyro™. Pro forma for calendar 2007, Activision Blizzard expects to generate approximately 70% of its revenues from owned franchises. As a result of the business combination, Activision Blizzard expects to have the most diversified and broadest portfolio of interactive entertainment assets in its industry, positioning the combined company to capitalize on the continued worldwide growth in interactive entertainment.
Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Vivendi stated: “This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector. By combining Vivendi’s games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry. We are excited about the opportunities for Activision Blizzard as a broader entertainment software platform. We believe this transaction will create significant value for Activision Blizzard and Vivendi stockholders. In Activision, we have found a partner with a highly complementary business and strong operating team. Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly are industry pioneers, well known for creating shareholder value. The combined strength of the existing management teams at both companies will set the stage for further profitable growth of Activision Blizzard. We look forward to being an active and supportive majority stockholder in a company that is poised to lead the worldwide interactive entertainment industry in the years ahead.”
René Penisson, Member of the Management Board of Vivendi and current Chairman of Vivendi Games, added: “We are very confident that by combining forces, Activision Blizzard will set the highest standards in quality, reputation and profitability, and will bring together the best creative teams in the industry. The combination of this unique product portfolio with highly professional employees gives us great confidence in the growth prospects for Activision Blizzard.”
Said Robert Kotick, Activision’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: “This is an outstanding transaction for Activision and our stockholders, as well as a pivotal event in the continuing transformation of the interactive entertainment industry. By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences. By joining forces with Vivendi Games, we will become the immediate leader in the highly profitable online games business and gain a large footprint in the rapidly growing Asian markets, including China and Korea, while maintaining our leading operating performance across North America and Europe. Activision stockholders will benefit from significantly increased earnings power and the recurring nature and predictability of subscriptionbased revenues, while also having the opportunity, if they choose, to receive $27.50 per share for a portion of their shares in the post-closing tender offer.”
Kotick continued: “Vivendi Games provides Activision with unique strategic and financial benefits and will allow us to leverage our franchises into emerging online opportunities as Blizzard has done so successfully. Activision has been very focused on margin expansion, and this transaction will meaningfully increase our overall operating margins as we expand our franchises online and in new geographies. Diversifying our revenue base among subscription-based online, console and PC formats, as well as wireless and casual emerging opportunities, gives us the broadest platform to capitalize on industry growth. With Blizzard’s successful franchises, such as World of Warcraft, StarCraft and an exciting pipeline of yet-to-be announced titles, Vivendi Games’ and Blizzard’s management team will join with Activision’s strong and experienced leaders to become an even more powerful force for innovation in online and offline interactive entertainment across a wide range of platforms. This transaction also provides a unique relationship with Universal Music Group – the world’s largest music company – which will benefit Guitar Hero and further extend our sizable leadership position in music-based games.”
Mike Morhaime, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blizzard, added: “Blizzard’s industry-leading PC games business, with a track record of nine consecutive bestsellers and a global subscriber base of more than 9.3 million World of Warcraft players, is an exceptional fit for Activision’s highly profitable console games business. From our interactions with the Activision team, it is clear we have much in common in terms of our approaches to game development and publishing. Above all, we are looking forward to continue creating great games for Blizzard gamers around the world, and we believe this new partnership will help us to do that even better than before.”