Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, is making a bold move this week with the help of co-chairman Brian Kelly and a few other investors. If youÂve been following our recent coverage of the news out of Activision Blizzard, you already know that parent company Vivendi tried and failed to sell off its majority stake in the publisher last year. More recently, Vivendi has considered having the video game publisher pay out a special dividend to the tune of around $3 billion to help clear up some of its growing pile of debt. But Kotick has other plans.
Earlier today it was reported that with the help of co-chairman Brian Kelly, Kotick led an effort to reach a deal with Vivendi to buy out a majority of its shares in Activision Blizzard for about $8.17 billion. As part of the deal, Activision Blizzard will take on debt to purchase shares held by Vivendi for $5.83 billion. Kotick and his partners, which include co-chairman Brian Kelly, Chinese publisher Tencent Holdings, Davis Advisors and Leonard Green & Partners, will pick up the remaining tab of $2.34 billion. Vivendi will maintain a 12% stake in the company.
ÂWe tried to construct a transaction that rewarded our public shareholders and this structure accomplishes that,Â Kotick said in a telephone interview to Bloomberg.
Say what you will about Kotick, he has certainly earned a notorious name within the gaming community for more than a few controversial comments, but the guy knows his stuff when it comes to business. He purchased a stake in Activision back in 1991 and has since helped turn the once financially struggling publisher into one of the biggest entities in the industry. And through the 2008 merger with Blizzard, the horizon still looks bright for Activision as games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, the Call of Duty franchise, and the secretive Project Titan MMOG continue to pave the way to the publisherÂs future.
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