The new publisher will effectively become the largest third party in the industry.
In what may very well be the biggest news story of 2007, Activision and Vivendi Games have jointly announced that they will be joining forces to create Activision Blizzard. Vivendi, which owns Blizzard Entertainment, will have a 52% stake in the newly formed publishing label, making it the controlling shareholder. Vivendi's operations and properties will fall under current Activision management. The transaction, valued at $18.9 billion dollars in stock and cash, will make Activision Blizzard "the world's largest pure-play online and console game publisher," according to the new company.
Activision has been going through its most successful period in its history, seeing record sales and profits due to games like Guitar Hero III, Call of Duty 4, and Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. Vivendi has the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro properties, but is best known for owning Blizzard Entertainment, the juggernaut online games maker. StarCraft, Diablo, and Warcraft are some of the biggest names in gaming, and World of Warcraft is the most successful MMO ever created with 9.3 million subscribers. The release of the long-awaited StarCraft II is also on the horizon.
Robert Kotick, Activision chairman and CEO, says the merger benefits both companies because of their strengths in different areas. "By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences."
As a result of the Activision Blizzard merger, the new label is expected to have a combined revenue stream of $3.8 billion in 2007, which will be the largest income total for any third-party publisher.
Thanks to lord_die_seis for the news tip!