Early Sunday, a surprising and still yet-to-be-approved merger between Activision and Vivendi Games was announced.
Vivendi Games (which owns Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of the uncannily popular World of Warcraft) will buy a majority stake in Activision to create a new company, Activision Blizzard.
Providing regulators and Activision shareholders agree on the deal, Vivendi will own 52 per cent of the entity, with Activision boss Robert Kotick crowned President and Chief Executive Officer. Vivendi’s head, Bruce Hack, will be CCO of the combined company.
The deal will combine the key franchises of Activision (that include Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk) with Vivendi, (that makes…they do…well, they own Blizzard, which is a big deal. To give you an idea: Blizzard says they’ll make $1.1bn in revenue this year, $502m of which is operating profit).
According to the announcement, the combined company will usurp EA to become the world’s most profitable third party game publisher. The total transaction is valued at $18.9bn.
So what does a merger mean for consumers?
Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime told the online game rag 1UP that "Activision Blizzard" will be a corporate brand only, and not associated with any product.
So there shouldn’t be a "From the makers of World of Warcraft: Tony Hawk XXXVI," or "ActiBlizzard’s Wrath of the Lich King" on any game boxes.
That’s good news for Blizzard at least. The game developer has largely been left as a separate entity from Vivendi after its purchase — and done very well with the arrangement, thank you very much.
Blizzard moniker is likely being used solely to bring "star power" to the company stock. Blizzard also says there won’t be any management changes on its end as a result of the deal.