Vivendi courting Tencent, Time Warner, and Microsoft as possible suitors for Activision Blizzard
Vivendi is looking to sell, and it's not looking like it'll have any trouble finding buyers. According to several unnamed sources, the French media/telecom conglomerate began testing the waters for a possible sale of its video game subsidiary, Activision Blizzard. Considering Blizzard has got titles like Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft under its belt, and Activision has Call of Duty and Skylanders…
Yeah, it'll sell. The unnamed sources have already named Time Warner, Microsoft, Tencent, KKR, Providence, and Blackstone as potential buyers. All very rich, very powerful conglomerates, and all quite capable of paying the $10 billion asking price.
But why would Vivendi want to sell such a hugely successful venture, which is the largest American video game publisher? Well, things aren't exactly going well for the organization. Their CEO Jean-Bernard Levy stepped down last month, it's dealing with a massive debt shadow, and its share price is, for lack of better terms, falling into the toilet. Oh, and it's also on negative credit watch with Standard & Poor's.
This is still firmly in 'unconfirmed rumor' territory at the moment, since none of the organizations involved have deigned to comment on the matter. Assuming it's true, however…
The sale of Activision Blizzard is a first step, but an admittedly small one. According to bankers and analysts, it's not really going to be enough to pull Vivendi out of the grave it's been digging for itself. The scandals the company suffered under CEO Jean-Marie Messier coupled with the repeated, significant underperformance of its shares have gone a very long way towards severely damaging Vivendi's reputation.
"Investors remain spooked," said one source, "and the only way to change their perception is to show a stronger leadership."
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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