Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq:ATVI), the world's largest video game publisher, said on Friday that it will pay about $8.2 billion to acquire most of the shares currently held by majority owner French parent Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV), effectively taking back control of the company.
In a deal announced just after midnight ET, Activision, which publishes such popular game titles as "World of Warcraft" and "Call of Duty," said it will buy back about 429 million shares for $5.83 billion, or $13.60 per share, as well as certain tax attributes from Vivendi. The purchase price represents a 10 percent discount to Thursday's closing share price.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company merged with Vivendi five years ago and will now separate from its parent to become an independent video game publisher. When it reports second-quarter results on Aug. 1, the company is expected to record a profit of 28 cents per share on net revenue of about $1.05 billion.
In another transaction, ASAC II LP, a new investment vehicle led by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly, will buy about 172 million shares from Vivendi for about $2.34 billion in cash. Under terms of the deal, Kotick will continue to lead the company and Kelly will become its sole chairman.
Both transactions are expected to be completed by the end of September. Following the two transactions, Vivendi will retain about 83 million shares, or a 12 percent stake in Activision Blizzard, down from its current 61 percent but it will no longer be the majority shareholder.