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Media giant Vivendi held a majority stake in Activision Blizzard up until today, with the gaming company announcing that they will be buying a portion of Vivendi's stake to regain majority control. The buyback will cost around $8.2 billion: $5.83 billion will be in cash for 429 million shares, while a further 172 million shares will be bought for $2.34 billion by an investment group headed by co-chairman Brian Kelly and CEO Bobby Kotick.
Vivendi will retain an approximately 12% stake in the gaming giant - around 83 million shares - with Bobby Kotick continuing his role as CEO and Brian Kelly taking a sole chairman's role. The deal is expected to close in September 2013, according to the press release from the now independent Activision Blizzard.
Kotick stated that since Activision merged with Blizzard five years ago, "we have generated over $5.4 billion in operating cash flow and returned more than $4 billion of that to shareholders", while also thanking Vivendi for their partnership through the period. Now that Activision Blizzard is an independent company, Kotick says that "a best-in-class franchise portfolio" along with a focus on driving long-term shareholder value will "expand our leadership position as one of the world's most important entertainment companies."
The company is best known for producing the World of Warcraft and StarCraft series under the Blizzard label, and Call of Duty under the Activision label. The latter title is responsible for a large amount of Activision Blizzard's revenue, which is reported to be $1.05 billion for the second quarter alone; their full-year revenue outlook has been raised as a result, and will be announced in August.