||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (November 2015)|
|Traded as||NASDAQ: ATVI
|Founded||2008 (as Activision, Inc.)|
|Headquarters||Santa Monica, California, U.S.|
|Brian Kelly (Chairman)
Mike Griffith (Vice Chairman)
Robert Kotick (President and CEO)
Call of Duty series
Spyro the Dragon series
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series
Guitar Hero series
Heroes of the Storm
|Revenue||US$ 4.41 billion (2014)|
|US$ 1.183 billion (2014)|
|US$ 817 million (2014)|
|Total assets||US$ 14.746 billion (2014)|
|Total equity||US$ 7.513 billion (2014)|
Number of employees
|6,690 (Feb. 2015)|
|Footnotes / references
Activision Blizzard, Inc. is the American parent corporation for Activision and Blizzard Entertainment, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, United States. In 2014, Activision Blizzard was the fifth largest gaming company by revenue. Intellectual Property published by Activision Blizzard include the multimillion-dollar video game franchises of Call of Duty, StarCraft, and Warcraft.
- 1 History
- 2 Products
- 3 Game Studios
- 4 Legal
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Merger into Activision Blizzard (2007–2008)
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. Robert 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, approving 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 replaced René Penisson as chairman of Activision Blizzard.
Growth and new titles (2009–2012)
By 2010, Activision Blizzard was the largest video games publisher in the world. The 2011 release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 grossed $400 million in the US and UK alone in its first 24 hours, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time. By 2011, Activision Blizzard was the third year in a row that the Call of Duty series broke the biggest launch record; 2010's Call of Duty: Black Ops grossed $360 million on day one; and 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 brought in $310 million.
In 2011, Activision Blizzard debuted its Skylanders franchise. With this launch, the press has credited the company with inventing a new "toys-to-life" category. The first release Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was nominated for two Toy Industry Association awards in 2011: "Game of the Year" and "Innovative Toy of the Year". Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and its sequels were released for major consoles and PC, and many were released on mobile devices as well.
On March 30, 2012, Worlds, Inc. filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Massachusetts Federal Court alleging Activision Blizzard, Inc et al. had infringed on several patents.
Activision Blizzard 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 made 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 on August 7, 2014.
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 (2013)
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. At the conclusion of the deal, Vivendi was no longer Activision Blizzard's parent company, and Activision Blizzard became an independent company as a majority of the shares are owned by the public. Robert 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 on May 22, 2014, reducing its ownership to 5.8%, which subsequently helped finance Vivendi's takeover of EMI via Universal Music Group.
Recent years (2014–2015)
The company released the next iteration of the Skylanders franchise in September 2015, which added vehicles to the "toys to life" category. On September 15, 2015, Activision and Bungie released Destiny: The Taken King, the follow up to the Destiny saga. Two days later, Sony announced that the game broke the record for the most downloaded day-one game in PlayStation history, in terms of both total players and peak online concurrency.
On October 21, 2015, Activision Blizzard announced the establishment of a new esports competitive video game division headed by Chairman Steve Bornstein and Senior Vice President Mike Sespo of Major League Gaming.
At an Investor Day presentation on November 6, 2015, Activision Blizzard announced the formation of Activision Blizzard Studios, a film production subsidiary dedicated to creating original films and television series. Headed by former The Walt Disney Company executive Nick van Dyk, Activision Blizzard Studios would look to produce films based on the Call of Duty franchise as well as an animated television series based on Skylanders called Skylanders Academy.
- List of Activision games
- List of Blizzard Entertainment games
- List of Sierra Entertainment video games
- 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 Quebec City, Quebec, 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.
- Fun Labs in Bucharest, Romania, founded in 1999.
- High Moon Studios in San Diego, California, founded as Sammy Corporation 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 1994 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 Entertainment in 1995, closed April 2004.
- Papyrus Design Group in Watertown, Massachusetts, founded in 1987, acquired by Sierra Entertainment in 1995, closed in May 2004.
- 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.
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 regard to the claims made by Worlds, Inc.
The case was heard on October 3, 2014 in Massachusetts Federal Court with Judge Denise Caspar presiding. As of December 31, 2014, Judge Denise Caspar had yet to rule on which of the claims would proceed to trial.
As of June 29, 2015, Worlds Inc. asserts the federal court that on Friday issued a Markman ruling related to the company's infringement suit against Activision "ruled that the majority of our patent claims construction language means precisely what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office interpreted the claims to mean in the patents they granted to us," thereby leaving the company "in a strong position for a jury trial." Worlds hopes to receive a trial date at a July 30 scheduling hearing.
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