Activision buys itself back from Vivendi

Activision Blizzard has bought itself back from financially troubled majority owner Vivendi. The publisher today announced that it and an investor group led by CEO Bobby Kotick purchased more than 600 million shares back from the French media conglomerate for $8.2 billion.

Now an independent company with most of its stock held by the public, Activision Blizzard will be led by Kotick and chairman Brian Kelly. Vivendi will retain a 12 percent stake in the company with 83 million shares.

“These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi,” Kotick wrote in a statement. “We should emerge even stronger—an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio and the focus and flexibility to drive long-term shareholder value and expand our leadership position as one of the world’s most important entertainment companies.”

Kotick and Kelly personally committed $100 million to their investor group, which includes Chinese media conglomerate Tencent among others. Their group now holds about 25 percent of the company’s stock.

Vivendi purchased Activision in 2007, merging the company with its Vivendi Games division to form Activision Blizzard.

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