|Traded as||NASDAQ: ATVI
|Founded||2008 (as Activision, Inc.)|
|Headquarters||Santa Monica, California, USA|
|Key people||Brian Kelly (Chairman)
Michael J. Griffith (Vice Chairman)
Robert Kotick (President and CEO)
Call of Duty series
Crash Bandicoot series
Spyro the Dragon series
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series
Guitar Hero series
|Revenue||US$ 4.583 billion (2013)|
|Operating income||US$ 1.372 billion (2013)|
|Net income||US$ 1.010 billion (2013)|
|Total assets||US$ 14.012 billion (2013)|
|Total equity||US$ 6.622 billion (2013)|
|Footnotes / references
Activision Blizzard, Inc. is the American holding company for Activision, Blizzard Entertainment and Sierra Entertainment. In 2009, Activision Blizzard was the world's second-largest gaming company by revenue after Nintendo.
In December 2007, Activision announced that the company and its assets would merge with fellow games developer and publisher Vivendi Games. René Penisson, formerly a member of the Management Board of Vivendi and Chairman of Vivendi Games, would serve as Chairman of Activision Blizzard. Bobby Kotick, once head of Activision, was announced to become President and CEO of Activision Blizzard.
In April 2008, the European Commission permitted the merger to take place. The commission essentially needed to approve that there weren't any antitrust issues in the merger deal. On July 8, 2008, Activision announced that stockholders had agreed to merge. The deal closed on July 9, 2008, and the total transaction was an estimated $18.9 billion. Vivendi was the majority shareholder, with a 52% stake in the company. The rest of the shares were held by institutional and private investors and continue to be traded on the NASDAQ stock market, for the first 10 trading days post closing as ATVID, and subsequently as ATVI. Jean-Bernard Levy will replace René Penisson as chairman of Activision Blizzard.
Activision and Blizzard Entertainment still exist as separate entities. The holding company does not publish games under its central name and instead uses its subsidiaries to publish games, similar to how Vivendi Games operated before the merger. The merger makes Activision parent company of Vivendi Games' former divisions until July 25, 2013.
While Blizzard retained its autonomy and corporate leadership, other Vivendi Games divisions did not. For example, long-time label Sierra ceased operation. With the merger, there was a rumor that if a Sierra product did not meet Activision's requirements, they "won't likely be retained." Some of Sierra's games such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Prototype have been retained and are now published by Activision. Also, due to the closure of Sierra, the Sierra Community Forums servers have been shut down as of November 1, 2008 until Sierra was reopened in August 7, 2014.
Results of the merger
Shortly after the conclusion of the merger, Thomas Tippl, CFO, alluded to future layoffs stating that the company "will exterminate some of our overlap through redundancy – but we will treat people fairly and respectfully in that process." Also, games such as Brütal Legend, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, World in Conflict: Soviet Assault, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Zombie Wranglers, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust and Wet were all dropped from the publisher to be picked up by other companies.
Split from Vivendi
On July 25, 2013, Activision Blizzard announced the purchase of 429 million shares from owner Vivendi for $5.83 billion, dropping the shareholder from a 63% stake to 11.8% by the end of the deal in September. Following the conclusion of the deal, Activision Blizzard became an independent company as a majority of the shares are owned by the public. Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly own a 24.4% stake in the company. In addition, Kotick remains the President and CEO, with Brian Kelly taking over as the Chairman. On October 12, 2013, shortly after approval from the Delaware Supreme court, the company completed the buyback, along the lines of the original plan. Vivendi sold half its remaining stake in May 22, 2014, reducing its ownership to 5.8%, which subsequently helped finance Vivendi’s takeover of EMI via Universal Music Group.
Patent Infringement Lawsuits
On March 30, 2012 Worlds, Inc. filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Massachusetts Federal Court alleging Activision Blizzard, Inc et al had infringed on Worlds, Inc. US Patents Nos. 8,082,501;7,945,856; 7,493,558; and 7,181,690. Worlds, Inc. a small publicly traded IP firm asked for damages arising out of the Activision infringement, including enhanced damages pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284. Further asking and enjoining Activision and their respective officers, agents, employees, and those acting in privity with them, from further infringement. The infringement covers the highly successful Call of Duty franchise among several other yet to be named game titles.
During pre-trial oral arguments Activision Blizzard lead counsel was quoted on the record stating "billions were at stake" in regards to the claims made by Worlds, Inc.
The case is heard on October 3, 2014 in Massachusetts Federal Court with Judge Denise Caspar. This is crucial for Activision Blizzard as the Markman Hearing establishes the infringement claims the jury decided upon.
- Activision in Santa Monica, California, founded on October 1, 1979, merged with Vivendi Games on July 9, 2008.
- Beachhead Studios in Santa Monica, California, founded in February 2011.
- Beenox in Québec City, Québec, Canada, founded in May 2000, acquired on May 25, 2005.
- Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine, California, founded in February 1991 as Silicon & Synapse, acquired in 1998 by Vivendi, merged with Activision on July 9, 2008.
- DemonWare in both Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, founded in 2003, acquired in May 2007.
- FreeStyleGames in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, United Kingdom, founded in 2002, acquired on September 12, 2008.
- High Moon Studios in San Diego, California, founded as Sammy Entertainment in April 2001, acquired by Vivendi Games in January 2006.
- Infinity Ward in Encino, Los Angeles, founded in 2002, acquired in October 2003.
- Radical Entertainment in Vancouver, Canada, founded in 1991, acquired by Vivendi Games in 2005.
- Raven Software in Madison, Wisconsin, founded in 1990, acquired in 1997.
- Sierra Entertainment in Fresno, California, founded as On-Line Systems in 1979, changed name to Sierra On-Line in 1982, eventually changed name to Sierra Entertainment, closed in 2008, reopened in 2014.
- Sledgehammer Games in Foster City, California, founded on November 17, 2009
- Toys for Bob in Novato, California, founded in 1989, acquired on May 3, 2005.
- Treyarch in Santa Monica, California, founded in 1996, acquired in 2001.
- Vicarious Visions in Menands, New York, founded in 1990, acquired in January 2005.
- 7 Studios in Los Angeles, California, founded in 1999, acquired in April 2009, closed on February 11, 2010.
- Activision Value in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, founded in 2001, merged into Activision in 2010, changed name to Activision Publishing Minneapolis.
- Bizarre Creations in Liverpool, England, founded as Raising Hell Productions in 1987 and changed name in 1994, acquired on September 26, 2007, closed on January 20, 2011.
- The Blast Furnace in Leeds, United Kingdom, founded in November 2011 as Activision Leeds, changed name in August 2012, closed in March 2014.
- Budcat Creations in Iowa City, Iowa, founded September 2000, acquired on November 10, 2008, closed on November 16, 2010.
- Gray Matter Interactive in Los Angeles, California, founded in the 1990s as Xatrix Entertainment, acquired in January 2002, merged into Treyarch in 2005.
- Blizzard North in San Mateo, California, founded in 1993 as Condor, purchased and renamed by Blizzard Entertainment in 1996, closed in 2005.
- Infocom in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded on June 22, 1979, acquired in 1986, closed in 1989.
- Luxoflux in Santa Monica, California, founded in January 1997, acquired in October 2002, closed on February 11, 2010.
- Neversoft in Los Angeles, California, founded in July 1994, acquired in October 1999, merged into Infinity Ward on May 3, 2014 and was officially made defunct on July 10, 2014.
- RedOctane in Mountain View, California, founded in November 2005, acquired in 2006, closed on February 11, 2010.
- Shaba Games in San Francisco, California, founded in September 1997, acquired in 2002, closed on October 8, 2009.
- Underground Development in Redwood Shores, California, founded in 1994, acquired in May 2002, closed on February 11, 2010.
- Berkeley Systems in Berkeley, California, founded in 1987, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in 1997, closed in 2000.
- PyroTechnix, founded as Computer Presentation, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in February 1996, closed in 1999.
- Impressions Games in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded 1989, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in 1995, closed April 2004.
- Dynamix in Eugene, Oregon, founded 1984, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in August 1990, closed on August 14, 2001.
- Yosemite Entertainment in Oakhurst, California, formed in 1998 as a division of Sierra Entertainment, closed in 1999 then sold to Codemasters that year.
- Green Thumb Software, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in 1995.
- Synergistic Studios, founded in 1978, acquired in 1996, studio closed in 1999. No longer involved in the video game industry.
- Bright Star Technology in Bellevue, Washington, founded 1980, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in 1992.
- Davidson & Associates founded in 1989, acquired by CUC International in 1996, closed in 1999.
- Fox Interactive in Los Angeles, California formed in 1994 as a division of 20th Century Fox, acquired by Vivendi Games in 2003, closed in 2006.
- Impressions Games in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded 1989, acquired by Sierra in 1995, closed April 2004.
- Papyrus Design Group in Watertown, Massachusetts, founded in 1987, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in 1995, closed in May 2004.
- PyroTechnix, founded as Computer Presentation, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in February 1996, closed in 1999.
- Vivendi Games in Los Angeles, California, founded as Universal Interactive Studios, acquired by Vivendi in December 2000, changed name to Vivendi Universal Games in 2002, changed name to Vivendi Games on May 2, 2006, closed on July 9, 2008 after Activision Blizzard merger.
- Headgate Studios in Bountiful, Utah, founded in 1992, acquired April 1996, sold to original owner in 1999.
- Knowledge Adventure in Los Angeles County, California, founded in 1989, sold in 2004.
- Massive Entertainment in Malmö, Sweden, founded in 1997, acquired by Vivendi Games in 2002, sold to Ubisoft on November 10, 2008.
- Swordfish Studios in Birmingham, England, founded in September 2002, acquired by Vivendi Games in June 2005, sold to Codemasters on November 14, 2008.
- Wanako Studios in New York City, founded in 2005, acquired by Vivendi Games on February 20, 2007, sold to Artificial Mind and Movement on November 20, 2008.
- Coktel Vision in Paris, France, founded in 1985, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in 1993, sold to Mindscape in 2005.
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- "Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Vivendi. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Gaming company Top 25". Softwaretop100.org. 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- Sliwinski, Alexander. "EU greenlights Activision-Vivendi merger".
- Thang, Jimmy. "Activision/Vivendi Games Merger Approved: Stockholders support Activision Blizzard venture".
- Thorsen, Tor; Sinclair, Brendan (2009-05-05). "Vivendi CEO Activision Blizzard's new chairman". gamespot.com. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
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- "Blizzard stay autonomous in Activision merger, Sierra not so lucky - Strategy Informer".
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- "Vivendi to sell 41.5 million Activision Blizzard shares". Retrieved 6 July 2014.
- "Activision Acquires U.K. Game Developer Bizarre Creations". from Activision's website.
- Sinclair, Brendan. "Budcat put down".
- Fritz, Ben (February 11, 2010). "Activision lays off about 200 employees, shuts down Santa Monica studio Luxoflux". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- Fahey, Mike (3 May 2014). "Report: Neversoft Merging With Call Of Duty Developer Infinity Ward". kotaku.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- Phillips, Tom (July 10, 2014). "Tony Hawk studio Neversoft bids farewell, burns eyeball effigy". Eurogamer. Retrieved July 11, 2014.