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.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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