Activision Blizzard has reached an agreement parent company Vivendi to acquire all its shares, rendering it an independent company with the majority of its shares owned by the public.
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After Activision shed various Vivendi titles earlier this week, Ludlum Entertainment has reacquired exclusive rights to develop, publish and distribute multi-platform games based on the literary works of late-author Robert Ludlum, known for the Bourne and Covert One series which spawned the theatrical box office hits The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy.
Activision will broaden its portfolio by adding Vivendi's Crash Bandicoot, Ice Age and Spyro to its lineup, as well as retain two new IPs that are currently in development, Prototype and a second, yet unannounced, game. On the flipside it will realign staffing at Radical Entertainment and High Moon Studios and is exploring options regarding Massive Entertainment and Swordfish Studios, including the possibility of sale or close. Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, Riddick, 50 Cent, World in Conflict, WET are all MIA.
Vivendi and Activision announced the completion of the transaction announced on Dec. 2, 2007 to create Activision Blizzard, as the world's most profitable pure-play online and console game publisher.
Activision announced that, at a special meeting of stockholders held earlier today, it received a 92% stockholder approval necessary to consummate the company's agreement with Vivendi, S.A. to combine Vivendi Games with Activision's businesses.
When Activision announced last year that it would merge with Vivendi Games not all its shareholders were in agreement with the $18.9 billion deal. Wayne County Employees' Retirement System filed a preliminary injunction which has now been denied by the Delaware Court of Chancery, so the merger can move forward.
Digital download portal GamersGate announced a partnership with Vivendi Games for the digital distribution of several PC titles including Sierra Entertainment's Caesar IV, Empire Earth II Gold, Empire Earth III and World in Conflict.
Over the past few fiscal quarters, it has become quite obvious that Blizzard's World of Warcraft is Vivendi's main source of income, driving its revenue month after month, but we never really knew how much cold hard cash it brought in. As the year came to an end, Vivendi made its 2007 tally, $1.51 billion for the year, up 26% compared to 2006, $1.2 billion coming from Blizzard's MMORPG.
Activision has signed an $18.9 billion agreement to combine Vivendi Games, which includes Blizzard's World of Warcraft, with Activision, creating the world's largest pure-play online and console game publisher. Activision Blizzard will be led by Activision's current CEO, Bobby Kotick.
Vivendi confirmed that Terminal Reality is developing the title for PC, PS3 and X360 aimed primarily at the core gamer demographic, while Red Fly Studios is working on a more casual version for PS2, Wii and NDS. All four members of the movie team (Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis) will lend their voices and likenesses to the game, which is set in the '90s after Ghostbusters II and currently scheduled for release in fall '08.
Vivendi has released its financial results for the first nine months of the year, and reported, to no one's surprise, an increase of 7% compared to last year (10.9% in the last quarter). Vivendi Games' revenues in particular are up 49% compared to last year, racking up a rough $1 billion, primarily driven, like the past year or two, by World of Warcraft, which has recently launched in China and now counts over 9 million subscribers.
Vivendi Games’ revenues were 68.9% higher than the same period last year, driven by the continued momentum of World of Warcraft in all markets, following the first quarter of 2007 release of WoW: The Burning Crusade. Within one, the expansion sold approximately 3.5 million copies in regions connecting to North American and European realms - a new one-month PC-game sales record.
Vivendi Games’ revenues spiked 117.2% compared to last year, primarily driven by the successful launch of Blizzard's first World of Warcraft expansion pack The Burning Crusade. In its first month of sales, The Burning Crusade set a new one-month record for PC game sales by selling approximately 3.5 million copies in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and is soon to launch in China.
3G Studios announced that former Chief Creative Officer of Vivendi Games has joined 3G as the Company's Tahoe Studio President. Drew Markham is known for forming Gray Matter Studios as well as involvement in titles such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Redneck Rampage, and Kingpin.
Vivendi Games today announced the acquisition of Wanako Games, based in Santiago, Chile, who recently developed Assault Heroes for Sierra Online.
For the fourth quarter of 2006, Vivendi Games' revenues of EUR 326 million were 33.1% above the prior year, 25.4% for the entire year, primarily driven by Blizzard's World of Warcraft, not including the freshly released Burning Crusade expansion, and Scarface: The World is Yours. Other bestsellers in the quarter included the new releases The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, Eragon and F.E.A.R. (for X360).
Vivendi Games' revenues were up 15% compared to last year, primarily driven by the continued success of World of Warcraft, and the solid launch revenues in North America from Scarface, based on the classic Universal Studios film. For the first 9 months of the year revenue was up 20%, partly by continuous strong sales of 50 Cent and Ice Age 2.
Vivendi Games today announced that it has purchased two development studios, Secret Lair Studios, located in Issaquah, Wash., and, pending approval from the Chinese government, Studio Ch'in in Shanghai, China.
Check out the following new screens from Vivendi/SierraOnline's X06 2006 lineup:
Vivendi Games today announced that it has secured the rights to publish the next title from Double Fine Productions, known for Psychonauts. The as yet unnamed title is a brand new creation and will be published by Vivendi Games' Sierra Entertainment label.
Vivendi released its first half 2006 earnings results and overall net income is up nearly 11%, while Vivendi Games' earnings before interest and income taxes (EBITA) of EUR 62 million, up 226.3% compared to last year. This improvement was driven by growth in revenues, with an increased proportion relating to the higher margin of the World of Warcraft business.
An SEC report filled by Vivendi reveals quite a few details about what it has in stores for us in the near future. Psychonauts developer Double Fine is working on a new action/adventure title, while it is preparing several Xbox Live Arcade titles such as Battlestar Galactica, Red Baron, and The Incredible Machine. There is also mention of other, yet-unannounced projects, Crash Festival, M.A.C.H. (Modified Air Combat Heroes) for the PSP, and Sierra Online has a few MMO titles in the works, such as FreeStyle and Crash Online.
Vivendi Games' revenues of EUR 296 million were 24.4% higher than the prior year, primarily driven by the continued worldwide success of Blizzard's MMORPG World of Warcraft. Other solid performers in the first half of 2006 included the release of Ice Age 2, the game based on Fox movie, and continuing strong sales from backlist products including 50 Cent: Bulletproof and Crash Tag Team Racing.
Vivendi Games today announced its product lineup for E3 2006. Among the company's anticipated titles to be shown during E3 is Blizzard's MMORPG WoW: The Burning Crusade. Other featured titles include Scarface: The World is Yours, Eragon, F.E.A.R. 360, and more.
Already revealed a while ago, Vivendi Games today announced that it has secured the rights to publish Saber Interactive's FPS TimeShift, offering unprecedented time-control technology that allows players to stop, slow or reverse time.
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