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