Print 20 comment(s) - last by Samus.. on Feb 28 at 5:48 PM

Investors take legal action against Activision Blizzard marriage

In December 2007, Activision and Vivendi Games announced a merger that would make the combined company the largest videogame publisher in the world.

Activision’s know-how in managing franchises, such as the Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk series, combined with Vivendi’s properties, particularly Blizzard Entertainment’s the World of Warcraft, should please investors on both sides.

The combined companies, called Activision Blizzard, aim to create synergistic advantages in the games industry. At the time of the announcement, Activision CEO Robert Kotick said, “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.”

Through the merger, Activision will instantly gain a foothold in the online gaming space. “By joining forces with Vivendi Games, we will become the immediate leader in the highly profitable online games business and gain a large footprint in the rapidly growing Asian markets, including China and Korea, while maintaining our leading operating performance across North America and Europe,” Kotick added.

A group of Activision investors aren’t as happy about the deal with Vivendi, however, as the Wayne County Employees’ Retirement System are now suing the U.S.-based games maker for putting its shareholders in an “unfavorable minority position.”

“The merger, stock purchase and tender offer, working in concert, convey control of Activision to Vivendi but fail to offer the Activision stockholders an opportunity to realize a true control premium for their stock,” lawyers for the Michigan- based system said in the complaint, quoted by Bloomberg.

Activision has yet to comment on the suit.

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Don't know all the laws but
By FITCamaro on 2/27/2008 9:50:39 AM , Rating: 3
Wasn't the merger approved by the stock holders of both companies? I would assume the terms of the deal were spell out before they voted. So to me what real grounds for a suit does this group have?

Even if the group was part of the stockholders who voted against the merger, the majority wins.

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By Master Kenobi on 2/27/2008 9:59:47 AM , Rating: 3
Likely they felt their shares were "undervalued" and they should have recieved "more money/shares" from the merger. Your right though, this must have been approved by all sides.

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By Bioniccrackmonk on 2/27/2008 10:34:27 AM , Rating: 5
They could use the Chewbacca Defense to win more money from the merger.

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By Lastfreethinker on 2/27/2008 1:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
I tried that once in a law class...didn't work so well, but I got laughs!

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By Samus on 2/28/2008 5:48:36 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By Polynikes on 2/27/2008 10:01:23 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, you'd think so. But for some people, if you can't win, sue.

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By HOOfan 1 on 2/27/2008 12:30:22 PM , Rating: 2
I would hope a retirement fund wouldn't have too many eggs in a Game Publisher's basket anyway...

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By SectionEight on 2/27/2008 12:44:49 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if it is the managers of this retirement fund that are suing, or the actual beneficiaries. As with most managed funds (IRAs, 401(k)s, Mutual Funds), when a stock has a issue put to the vote, the managers just vote per the directors' recommendations. That usually means huge blocks of shares are voted 'yes' or 'no' according to one person, not the individual members of the fund. That could be the case here, and hence why they are suing the company.

But you are correct; if the minimum required 'yes' votes were reached by both companies, the 'no' voters are SOL. That's business (and democracy).

RE: Don't know all the laws but
By Oregonian2 on 2/27/2008 3:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
That might make sense if owners of a fund were suing the fund's manager for voting in a particular way that caused the deciding vote to go in a way not wanted. But the stockholders or their representatives (based on their contract with the owners themselves) voted and approved any such merger. If BOD members recommended things they don't like they certainly can be axed -- or even sued if they were grossly negligent in their duties, but don't see how the company would be suable (other than being an entity that has money). Because they own a portion the company, they're in effect suing themselves.

Fishing Derby MMORPG
By Mitch101 on 2/27/2008 10:07:22 AM , Rating: 1
Investors are probably miffed that the first MMORPG game out of the Activision camp will be a revised edition of "Fishing Derby"

Activision has a few good titles that would translate to MMORPG in a cool way and capture markets that WOW wouldn't grab.

Kids area they could create Shrek as a MMORPG getting an under 13 crowd. World of Shrek might be cool.

Activision also have the Marvel super heroes line. Justice League Online?

Quake and Call of Duty also could add a level of something cool. Quake needs something because I feel this franchise is losing out to Unreal. Wish they would just redo the original Doom in todays graphics instead of trying to recreate the game entirely. Original Doom rocked.

However if all my online game play goes to a subscription fee then I might have to reconsider.

RE: Fishing Derby MMORPG
By Master Kenobi on 2/27/2008 10:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't mind a Quake MMO using the Quake 2/4 storyline, but then there is Tabula Rasa and that's pretty close. Fun game but well, it failed to suck me in. Only MMO I play anymore is EVE Online, and you pretty much need a math heavy college degree to play that game.

RE: Fishing Derby MMORPG
By FITCamaro on 2/27/2008 10:23:17 AM , Rating: 2
Only MMO I play anymore is EVE Online, and you pretty much need a math heavy college degree to play that game.

Ain't that the truth. When I played it in beta and right of the gate, I was in the largest corporation in the game. Of course then I stupidly left for SWG thinking it would be good. But when playing EVE the "managers" often said that playing the game felt like being at work since you were basically playing Economy Tycoon Online.

But it was fun. Unfortunately I left right before a big war started. Shame. I was in the process of setting up a shadow organization to do our corporations dirty work that might conflict with whatever treaties we'd signed with other groups. Damn my Star Wars addiction.

RE: Fishing Derby MMORPG
By BenSkywalker on 2/27/2008 10:25:27 AM , Rating: 2
Activision also have the Marvel super heroes line. Justice League Online?

Justice League is DC, not Marvel. To make an MMO the can come remotely close to going toe to toe with WoW you need a setting where there is a ton of things to do for extremely powerful players. If not, you may get a nice out of the gate run and then an extremely quick crash as people complete all of the content available. None of the titles you bring up have this potential in a way that would pay their respective franchises any respect at all.

RE: Fishing Derby MMORPG
By BrownJohn on 2/27/2008 12:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but IIRC Marvel bought DC not too long ago.

RE: Fishing Derby MMORPG
By birdcat on 2/27/2008 3:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm, no they didn't.

RE: Fishing Derby MMORPG
By Topweasel on 2/27/2008 3:42:34 PM , Rating: 2
Warner Bros. has pretty much always owned and will always own DC. The rights for the movies alone make selling DC retarded.

RE: Fishing Derby MMORPG
By Hakuryu on 2/27/2008 12:28:57 PM , Rating: 3
Quake needs something because I feel this franchise is losing out to Unreal.


Enemy Territory Quake Wars has 6k+ people playing right now, while Unreal Tournament 3 has 600 according to Gamespy. UT 2k4 has a good amount of players, but add ETQW + Quake 3 together and they have more players than UT in total.

The Quake franchise is literally owning Unreal Tournament at the moment.

By BansheeX on 2/27/2008 1:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
... cannot be stopped. That is all.

RE: Actilizzard
By Relion on 2/27/2008 1:29:43 PM , Rating: 3
World of Guitars MMORPG !!!

RE: Actilizzard
By SlipDizzy on 2/27/2008 1:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm wearing my Ring of Hyper Speed and just finished the orange button quest.

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