The CEO of Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick
announced this morning that he would lead an investor buyout of the company worth approximately $8.2 billion dollars. The move would free Blactivision (how has this moniker never caught on?) to become an independent publisher and free it from the clutches of Vivendi, the evil French entertainment conglomerate. Vivendi has reportedly been attempting to sell Activision Blizzard
for years, due to an apparent hatred of actually turning a profit, given than the game developer owns some of the most popular franchises on Earth.
, otherwise known as Satan (if you think I'm kidding, hie thee to Google
and type "Bobby Kotick is a" in the search bar and see what Google suggests) has previously been known for his comments regarding exploiting game franchises and for gems like this: "We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."
Image by an unknown person but acknowledged for brilliance
And who could forget "I think we definitely have been able to instill the culture, the skepticism and pessimism and fear that you should have in an economy like we are in today. And so, while generally people talk about the recession, we are pretty good at keeping people focused on the deep depression."
Nonetheless, Kotick has proven adept at channeling the powers of the Prince of Darkness into WoW
expansions featuring talking pandas and soon, a wargame with a dog. In news more relevant to today's announcement, Kotick stated that this shift will allow Activision Blizzard to retain some three billion in cash on hand. Kotick
and his co-chairperson, Brian Kelly, will own roughly 24.9% of the company; the two men are investing a combined $100 million of their own cash into the deal. According to Kotick:
"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... We are grateful for Vivendi's partnership through this period, and we look forward to their continued support."
So long as Kotick keeps his hands off the major franchises, this is likely a good deal for gamers. Why Vivendi
was determined to get rid of a company that earned it such a great deal of money has never been clear, but the French's loss is hopefully our game. Game production schedules shouldn't be impacted by this move.