Activision, the world’s biggest video game publisher, has reached a deal to separate from Vivendi and become an independent company.
A deal that was announced early Friday will see Activision Blizzard and a group of investors led by the company’s management buy back shares owned by Vivendi leaving a majority of Activision Blizzard’s shares held by the investing public.
Activision Blizzard will buy about 429 million of its shares shares and certain tax attributes from Vivendi for roughly $5.83 billion in cash, or $13.60 a share, the company said. In addition, Robert A. Kotick, 50, the chief executive, and Brian Kelly, the co-chairman, are leading a group in buying about 172 million shares of the company from Vivendi for about $2.34 billion.
Vivendi will retain a stake of about 12 percent, or 83 million shares, in Activision Blizzard, the company said. Mr. Kotick will continue to lead the company and Mr. Kelly will become the sole chairman, according to the terms of the deal.
We should emerge even stronger,” CEO and President of Activision-Blizzard, Bobby Kotick said. “The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability.”
Activision Blizzard plans to finance the deal with about $1.2 billion of cash on hand and roughly $4.6 billion of debt, raised through the markets and bank financing. The company expects to have $1.4 billion of net debt after the deal, which is expected to close by the end of September.