Activision Blizzard

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Activision Blizzard, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQATVI
NASDAQ-100 Component
Industry Video games
Interactive entertainment
Founded 2008 (as Activision, Inc.)
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, USA
Area served Worldwide
Key people Brian Kelly (Chairman)
Michael J. Griffith (Vice Chairman)
Robert Kotick (President and CEO)
Products Activision:
Call of Duty series
Skylanders series
Crash Bandicoot series
Spyro the Dragon series
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series
Guitar Hero series
Blizzard Entertainment:
Warcraft series
StarCraft series
Diablo series
Brands Activision
Blizzard Entertainment
Sierra Entertainment
Revenue Decrease US$ 4.583 billion (2013)
Operating income Increase US$ 1.372 billion (2013)
Net income Increase US$ 1.010 billion (2013)
Total assets Decrease US$ 14.012 billion (2013)
Total equity Decrease US$ 6.622 billion (2013)
Employees 7,061 (2012)
Subsidiaries Activision
Blizzard Entertainment
Sierra Entertainment
Website www.activisionblizzard.com
Footnotes / references
[1][2][3]

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.[4]

History[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6] Vivendi was the majority shareholder, with a 52% stake in the company.[6] 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.[7]

Activision and Blizzard Entertainment still exist as separate entities.[8] 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.[9] 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."[10] Some of Sierra's games such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Prototype have been retained and are now published by Activision.[11] Also, due to the closure of Sierra, the Sierra Community Forums servers have been shut down as of November 1, 2008[12] until Sierra was reopened in August 7, 2014.

Results of the merger[edit]

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."[13] 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[edit]

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.[14] On October 12, 2013, shortly after approval from the Delaware Supreme court, the company completed the buyback, along the lines of the original plan.[15] Vivendi sold half its remaining stake in May 22, 2014, reducing its ownership to 5.8%,[16] which subsequently helped finance Vivendi’s takeover of EMI via Universal Music Group.

Patent Infringement Lawsuits[edit]

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.[17]

During pre-trial oral arguments Activision Blizzard lead counsel was quoted on the record stating "billions were at stake"[18] in regards to the claims made by Worlds, Inc.

The case was heard on October 3, 2014 in Massachusetts Federal Court with Judge Denise Caspar presiding. This is crucial for Activision Blizzard as the Markman Hearing establishes the infringement claims the jury decided upon.

At present Judge Denise Caspar has yet to rule on which, or all, of the 51 separate patent infringement claims made against Activision Blizzard will stand. The decision is pending prior to the end of 2014.[19]

Studios[edit]

Current[edit]

Defunct[edit]

Sold[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Activision - Corporate Info". from Activision's official website. 
  2. ^ "Activision Blizzard - Annual Report 2013". 
  3. ^ "Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Vivendi. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Gaming company Top 25". Softwaretop100.org. 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander. "EU greenlights Activision-Vivendi merger". 
  6. ^ a b Thang, Jimmy. "Activision/Vivendi Games Merger Approved: Stockholders support Activision Blizzard venture". 
  7. ^ Thorsen, Tor; Sinclair, Brendan (2009-05-05). "Vivendi CEO Activision Blizzard's new chairman". gamespot.com. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  8. ^ "Activision Blizzard FAQ". 
  9. ^ "Activision Blizzard Inc details.". businessweek.com. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  10. ^ "Blizzard stay autonomous in Activision merger, Sierra not so lucky - Strategy Informer". 
  11. ^ Sinclair, Brendan. "Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, more dropped by Activision". 
  12. ^ "Sierra Community Forums - Closure Announcement". [dead link]
  13. ^ "INTERVIEW - Thomas Tippl | Gaming Industry | Interview by MCV". 
  14. ^ "Activision Blizzard Announces Transformative Purchase of Shares from Vivendi and New Capital Structure". Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (12 Oct 2013). "Activision Blizzard completes buyback from Vivendi". GameSpot. Retrieved 15 Oct 2013. 
  16. ^ "Vivendi to sell 41.5 million Activision Blizzard shares". Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  17. ^ http://www.docstoc.com/docs/154670985/Worlds-vs-Activision-Original-patent-infringement?
  18. ^ http://seekingalpha.com/article/2018181-wheres-the-next-billion-dollar-pae-play
  19. ^ http://seekingalpha.com/article/2538385-with-cameras-rolling-worlds-inc-battles-activision-blizzard-october-3
  20. ^ "Activision Acquires U.K. Game Developer Bizarre Creations". from Activision's website. 
  21. ^ Sinclair, Brendan. "Budcat put down". 
  22. ^ Fritz, Ben (February 11, 2010). "Activision lays off about 200 employees, shuts down Santa Monica studio Luxoflux". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  23. ^ Fahey, Mike (3 May 2014). "Report: Neversoft Merging With Call Of Duty Developer Infinity Ward". kotaku.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Phillips, Tom (July 10, 2014). "Tony Hawk studio Neversoft bids farewell, burns eyeball effigy". Eurogamer. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]