Activision Blizzard today announced that they are buying back 429 million shares that is worth $5.38 billion from Vivendi over the next several months. This announcement comes after Wall Street Journal reported that Vivendi is looking for alternatives in holding onto Activision Blizzard as they can’t afford to hold the company’s price value. Activision Blizzard is currently the largest video game publisher.
In addition to buying back the stocks, the Company’s CEO and Co-Chairman will independently be buying over 172 million Activision Blizzard shares from Vivendi – both of them have personally invested over $100 million combined already.
In a simultaneous transaction, ASAC II LP, an investment vehicle led by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, to which they have personally committed $100 million combined, separately will purchase approximately 172 million Company shares from Vivendi for approximately $2.34 billion in cash, or $13.60 per share.
After this major transaction is complete, Activision Blizzard will be an independent company and led by CEO Bobby Kotick and Chairman Brian Kelly. Vivendi will still have some shares in the company, but the public will own the higher stake and amount.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said, “These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi. 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. The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability.”
Even though the company is spending over $8 billon on this deal, they expect to have over $3 billion on hand to continue to expand their portfolio and be the leader in video game publishing. Activision Blizzard’s current portfolio includes the Call of Duty franchise, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and many others.
Mr. Kotick continued, “Our successful combination with Blizzard Entertainment five years ago brought together some of the best creative and business talent in the industry and some of the most beloved entertainment franchises in the world, including Call of Duty® and World of Warcraft®. Since that time, we have generated over $5.4 billion in operating cash flow and returned more than $4 billion of that to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. We are grateful for Vivendi’s partnership through this period, and we look forward to their continued support.”
Activision also confirmed that their largest partner TenCent in China is contributing by buying stocks as well to assist this major transaction. TenCent is assisting Activision in China by publishing and marketing the Call of Duty Online for China.
In addition, Activision Blizzard have given a preliminary results regarding their Q2 results.The company has reported a revenue of $1.05 billion, a higher number than originally expected by many analysts. Skylanders continues to be #1 selling game, with Call of Duty coming in at #2 in North America and Europe. The company expects to reveal full information regarding Q2 in their financial call on August 1st at 5pm ET (2pm PT).
Activision files cease and desist letter against another cheat manufacturer
Activision Blizzard continues to take down cheat manufacturer sites to stop the spread of different cheats for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.
In August, the company filed a lawsuit against CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to be used in an IP owned by Activision Blizzard. CXCheats since deleted all cheats for Modern Warfare and Warzone in compliance with the lawsuit.
Now, in September, another large cheat manufacturer, GatorCheats, has said that Activision Blizzard has filed a cease and desist letter to stop them from making cheats for Call of Duty games.
The owner of GatorCheats said in their Discord that the first letter was filed by in May 2020, but they did not fully comply with that – opting to allow cheats to continue to be available.
In May 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys contacted me via a Cease and Desist letter. Considering this event, I decided to act on my already pending decision to close all sales to new customers for my product relating to Modern Warfare and Warzone.
Activision has since escalated the requests. In Sept. 2020, the owner of GatorCheats claims that Activision Blizzard served another cease and desist letter. But, this time, a PI showed up at his residence with the letter and informed him of what Activision knows about their site and the owners behind it.
In September 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys had another Cease and Desist letter hand delivered to me by who I assume was a PI, considering he knew my family members by name and made a point to showcase that he did. Also in September 2020, I received very clear communication in a follow up from Activision Blizzard’s attorneys communicating that they would litigate (file a law suit against me) if I didn’t comply with continuation of stopped sales as well as a complete stoppage of interaction with and updating of any products related to their client’s products.
The full letter from the owner states that he will “never make or create” a cheat for an Activision Blizzard product again after receiving the letters and a visit from them at his house.
Activision has not commented on their anti-cheat initiatives since June, where the company said they continue to ban players on a regular basis.
Activision files lawsuit against cheat manufacturer
Activision filed a lawsuit to sue a company responsible for creating hacks and exploits for Modern Warfare and Warzone.
Activision has sued CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to use in Call of Duty, the company announced.
CXCheats claims on their website that they are “dedicated to quality.”
This is a pathetic marketing line to convince users to buy cheats to use in Call of Duty.
As a result of our lawsuit with Activision, we have agreed to cease development and support for all Call of Duty related products or services sold through the site. These products will not be returning to CXCheats in any form. You also should be aware that using third-party tools in Call of Duty may result in the suspension or banning of your account by Activision Publishing, Inc. or the game’s developers. We apologize for any pain we’ve caused to players of Call of Duty.
Call of Duty: Warzone has been experiencing an intense amount of hackers since the game’s launch on March 13 on the PC platform.
With cross play, the hacks impacted the console players as well. PS4 players have opted to disable cross play to avoid them. Xbox players currently cannot disable cross play for unknown reasons.
CXCheats said on Discord that any user found using their software in Warzone will be banned, permanently.
Any user who utilizes unauthorized third-party software to gain an unfair advantage, manipulate stats, and/or manipulate game data is subject to penalty. Unauthorized third-party software includes, but is not limited to, aimbots, wallhacks, trainers, stats hacks, texture hacks, leaderboard hacks, injectors, or any other software used to deliberately modify game data on disk or in memory.
As of now, Activision has not commented on the lawsuit.
Former MLB executive joins Activision Blizzard to lead Sports & Entertainment
Activision Blizzard announced this week that former MLB executive will be joining the company starting August 17 in a newly formed position of President of Sports & Entertainment.
Petitti was the Deputy Commissioner and COO of MLB for years.
“Tony is one of the most highly regarded executives in sports and entertainment,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “His success in media and as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball is the perfect blend of skills to help us realize our aspirations for esports and our related businesses. He is admired by owners, media executives, players and fans.”
“Bobby Kotick has been translating his vision into opportunity at Activision Blizzard for 30 years. I couldn’t be more excited to use my own 30 years of sports and entertainment experience to help Activision Blizzard realize its ambitions,” said Petitti. “It’s clear to me the company has an incredible opportunity to connect players and fans in new and innovative ways, and I’m excited to be joining the company at such an important moment in its history. The last 12 years in baseball have been extraordinary for me and I am especially grateful for the leadership and mentorship that Commissioner Manfred provided to me and the League.”
Tony Petitti will join on to be in charge of the company’s esports businesses, which include Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, consumer products division, and films & television division.
Petitti will report directly to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
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