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Rumour: Microsoft in frame to buy Activision majority share

Wednesday, 11th July 2012 14:50 GMT By Stace Harman

Potential buyers for Vivendi’s 60 percent share of Activision Blizzard include Microsoft, Time Warner and Tencent, news source Reuters has reported.

Media corporation Vivendi has apparently started “testing the appetite” of potential buyers for part or all of its 60 percent share of Activision Blizzard.

The sale process has not yet officially begun, but bankers close to Vivendi are said to be sounding out cash buyers including the likes of Chinese company Tencent as well as Time Warner and Microsoft.

“It’s nothing official yet, but they’ve asked a bank to go and talk to possible buyers for Activision,” said a source close to the Vivendi board.

A sale by Vivendi could supposedly help raise up to $10 billion to shore up its share price. Reuters reported that both Microsoft and Time Warner declined to comment on a possible buy-out.

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25 Comments

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  1. TheBlackHole

    That would be some move by MSFT, especially with the next gen around the corner.

    CoD exclusive for launch? WoW console exclusive?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. voxelman

    that would be a big win for MS, but there would be a lot of issues like all the movie licenses which have cross platform clauses. Also Activision would lose almost half of it’s value instantly if they were limited to 360 and possibly PC. All of which will count against them with the other shareholders and the current board I am sure.

    Also I would hate Blizzard to be shut down (or gutted) like Ensemble because they don’t make good console games.

    Tencent would be interesting as suddenly Blizzard would have the most successful MOBA under the same roof again lol.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    They’re probably the only one in any position to do so.

    And if they played it right, the next console “war” will be won before it even begins.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. mickey2002

    @2 I don’t think M$ would lock out the products. But stuff like later launch dates so like the normal early nov date for xbox end of nov for ps.

    Also they are already paying money to them for the rights to the dlc for 30 days. So they’d save money on that and can just do it themselves and keep everything else as is and they’d save money there alone. Be a great buy if m$ did it but I’ll be gobsmacked if it happened because it just wont lol.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    Even if MS was to do this it would be moronic to have them limit their biggest seller to one or two platforms. It would be smarter to allow them to keep doing what they have been doing. You know if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    I don’t see how Microsoft would bother to put that kind of money down for a bunch of studios.

    The only thing they’ve demonstrated in the games space over the last 10 years is their affinnity for destroying every studio they come into contact with.

    I guess that makes them and Activision a match made in heaven, but I don’t see it. Microsoft never really cared about games, even if they put out some great ones over the years.

    @5 But the fact that something is moronic has not ever stopped Microsoft, and you can still make a tidy profit just on the PC and 360.

    If they were truly shrewd, they’d see buying Activision in terms of the PC market as well, and launch their own crappy Origin service from the ashes of the Windows Marketplace.

    But again, I doubt it. Microsoft just aren’t a games-oriented company.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DrDamn

    @2
    That’s the big issue. If MS did buy them then how could they justify a move which is hugely beneficial to them but not to other ActiBlizz shareholders? They would need to somehow force or get to a full purchase of the shares.

    Also worth noting the info is from the Vivendi side, i.e. they (or their bankers) have gone to MS and the others to see if they wanted to buy the stock. MS hasn’t come to them.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DrDamn

    @4
    “Also they are already paying money to them for the rights to the dlc for 30 days. So they’d save money on that and can just do it themselves and keep everything else as is and they’d save money there alone.”

    The other 40% of shareholders would be happy with that would they?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Razor

    Yeah, I’m with DSB.

    Would 60% even give MS control over what happens with CoD? i.e. making it Xbox exclusive? Influence over CoD seems like the only reason you’d want to be part of Acti; although WoW has some pull, I suppose :)

    #9 2 years ago
  10. typeface

    Honestly the Reuters article is speculation. Vivendi needs to offload it since they see less of a future in gaming plus they need to be more pro-active. It’s pretty much it.
    MS and WB have the money but MS isn’t really going to invest 5+Billion on a company like Acti-Blizz looking at where their current focus is. Warner Bros could but at the same time it’s not looking entirely feasible. KKB and Blackstone seem fairly likely. Mind you this is for majority holdings and that’s 61% – it’s a lot easier for consortiums and some sort of equity firm to buy it. I wouldn’t be surprised if even a Pharmachem company bought it, perhaps the same guys who bought Warner Music.

    MS current focus is to beat Apple, reiterated by Ballmer yesterday. They also want to be a hub in your living room – they’d invest in more diversified entertainment options before buying Acti-Blizz. Mind you COD is annualised and the current generation is about to get over. It’s very rare that console marketshare products maintain the same mindshare during the next generation. MS would and is heavily investing new products that will see them through. They didn’t invest and open all those new studios for nothing.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. ManuOtaku

    If this is true poor bungie, they cannot escape microsoft one way or the other, microsoft is up to them, is like the song ***one way or another i gonna get you, i gonna find you, i gonna seek you…tara rarara tara….**

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DSB

    @11 LOL :D

    Good god, that’s it! Microsoft is stalking Bungie!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. TMRNetShark

    @11 HAHAHA

    Yeah, Bungie is MS’s bitch basically. I think MS should get CoD as an exclusive… that would make one (Halo), two (Gears of war), three (CoD) shooter exclusives that Xbox has. Good job! Right direction because the world always needs more shooters!

    /sarcasm

    #13 2 years ago
  14. The_Red

    I think the winner will either be a surprise bidder (Outside the current roster) or a third party like Warner.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. James Mac

    I think a smarter move would be to buy THQ.
    It’s cheaper, comes with a bunch of studios and franchises, they can buy it outright and expand their first party lineup pretty extensively.

    I don’t see them going for Acti… there’s a reason Vivendi are bailing and as has been pointed out by others, it’s a lot of work for a gain they may not be able to exercise.

    It’ll probably be one of the big players in China or Asia who buys in.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. daytripper

    I don’t think they will buy any current third party studios, they will stick to exclusive DLC, a couple of timed exclusives maybe a new I. P and the usual Halo, Forza, Fable with some XBLA exclusives with the download cap lifted to 4gb by 2014. They will use more of their financial muscle to try to compete with Apple in the media side of things.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DSB

    @14 I think Warner would be the most likely of those three. I don’t think Tencent have that kind of money laying around.

    Another thing to consider is that games aren’t very appealing right now. Most of the major publishers are on a downward slope, and the ones that are stable are practically stagnant, without much in the way of profit.

    Activision are probably the most profitable publisher around right now, but I’m not sure games is the first place I’d invest right now. They’re way behind practically every other industry.

    @15 True that about THQ. I don’t know a lot of asian publishers that could afford it though.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. James Mac

    @17
    I meant one of the Asian companies would buy out Vivendi…

    Realistically, I don’t think anyone’s going to buy THQ.
    The more likely scenario is that it collapses and publishers but up the studios and IPs seperatly. I’ve heard speculation that Acti would pick up Volition and Saints Row to get a GTA competitor.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. OlderGamer

    Best to just wait and see.

    If MS did this….nagh best to just wait.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. GwynbleiddiuM

    oh, fuck no! I hate Activision but please someone stop this cruelty, and the fact that I want Blizzard to remain PC focused.

    @DSB true, Microsoft would just kill it off.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Da Man

    MS keep any relevant devs, as both Halo and Forza show, Rare repeatedly proved they can’t make a decent video game. Much of 343 staff are ex-Bungie.

    And last I checked there was the AoE online.

    Activision on the other hand..

    #21 2 years ago
  22. The_Red

    @17
    Yeah, my money is on Warner too if anyone of current nominees buy the majority share. They are the only big player on the rise (Rocksteady’s Batman games, LEGO games and finally Netherrealms fighting games) and could really use a huge MMO and a super popular FPS.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. ManuOtaku

    #21 “Rare repeatedly proved they can’t make a decent video game”
    Banjo nuts and bolts is one heck of a game mind you, and viva piñata is a very underated game

    #23 2 years ago
  24. CPC_RedDawn

    Wouldn’t it be insanely hilarious if by any chance at all (if pigs could fly and shoot lasers from their asses!)

    If Nintendo brought them out!!! LMAO

    It will NEVER EVER happen, but it would be an insane shock to the gaming world. Plus it would make sense given that the Wii U is just around the corner. Imagine that a Nintendo console with COD as its launch title exclusive!! HAHAHA!!

    Wii U launch lineup:

    New Super Mario Bros. 2

    Pikmin 3

    Call of Duty: Kirby’s Magic Gun Show!

    LMFAO!!!

    #24 2 years ago
  25. fearmonkey

    @23 – I agree, I see it posted all the time what terrible games Rare makes, but Viva Pinata is an awesome game, and Banjo nuts and bolts is too. I thought Kameo was alot of fun, the only rare games I haven’t liked is Perfect Dark Zero and the Kinect games..

    #25 2 years ago