Activision Blizzard Completes Deal To Buy Itself

By Graham Smith on October 14th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

This is just how he shows up in all photos.

John wrote about Activision Blizzard going independent back in July, but then there was a shareholder lawsuit, after which a US court placed an injunction to put the deal on hold. That was lifted last week, allowing the multi-billion dollar share buyback to go through and thus making ActiBlizz independent of its parent company, Vivendi.

The deal involves Activision paying $5.83 billion for shares, and an investment group led by Bobby Kotick paying a further $2.34 billion to complete the deal. If you can’t be bothered to do the maths, that’s a combined total of infinity dollars. What happens next?

Well, if Rock, Paper, Shotgun was to buy itself back from John, I imagine the team would use the extra money to install waterslides in their houses, and also to first buy themselves houses. Activision paints a different picture in the press release. A boring picture. “With the completion of this transaction we open a new chapter in the history of Activision Blizzard,” said a communications department employed at Activision Blizzard to write things that sound like something Bobby Kotick might have said, if he wasn’t busy using his waterslides. “We expect immediate shareholder benefits in the form of earnings-per-share accretion and strategic and operational independence. Our audiences and our incredibly talented employees around the world will benefit from a focused commitment to the creation of great games.” And also some other interminably boring things.

Most of my knowledge of business comes from The Hudsucker Proxy, so I’d place this as the moment in Tim Robbins’ narrative arc where he first gains control of the company. Soon Bobby Kotick will grow arrogant, before learning a valuable life lesson and going back to his roots as a humble inventor.

Beyond that, it’s probably true that the greater focus should result in better (or at least more) games and services from the company. A proper Call of Duty MMO? An Origin-style service but for Activision games? Four more World of Warcraft expansions? The mind boggles at the three likely possibilities.

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70 Comments »

  1. Fumarole says:

    My god, the staring eyes!

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      Hodge says:

      He’s using his acti-vision.

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    • CultOfTheStaringEyes says:

      Indeed. What a magnificent specimen this one is.

    • GernauMorat says:

      That is easily the most horrifying thing I’ve seen on RPS

    • Panda Powered says:

      Kotick doesn’t cast a shadow and has no reflection.

  2. Felipe Budinich says:

    That’s awesome. The Compagnie Générale des Eaux is *Evil*

  3. Tei says:

    Wen I become the Lord Governor Of Planet Terra (we will rename it after the conquest) we will impose than wen you buy a company, you have to buy it in real money. You have to come with the mountain of money the transaction require. If you can’t provide all this money in 1 hour, the sale is void.

    I will also make so big companies pay taxes. Like everyone else, and not on some fiscal paradise where the only pay a fraction of what real bussines have to pay. I will probably kill everybody in Monaco, Luxemburg, Swizerland, Bahamas and anywhere where the rich and corrupt hidden his bast fortunes while they steal from everyone.

    I will also force USA to have a 3th party. And have real healthcare.

    Under my mandate, people will abandon religions, and excel in science and arts. In 30 years the humanity will be flyiing to other planets in ships faster than light, ..with artistically/awesome designed ships.

    The lawyers/politicians that decided that was a good idea to have these “hide cookies” message, will receive 200 lashes. The lawyers/politicians that decided that videos must have age check, will receive 300 lashes. The lawyers/executives that decided that console videogames need a message before saving a game, will receive 3000 lashes in the back, and will be deported to australia.

    The executives of google that want to know my real name and make me abandon my nick, will receive 50 lashes, Youtube exetives will receive a extra 20 lashes for this motive. All Facebook executives will receive 3 lashes for random small disagreements with my guidance.

    With my tyranny I will cause a Golden Age that will last generations. And will make them hate tyranny soo much that the democracy that will follow me will last forever.

    • battles_atlas says:

      The only flaw in your plan that I can see is that Columbian drug lords would own everything

      • Zorn says:

        We’ll just call it a perk and everything’s fine. Except…

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        RedViv says:

        That’s where the watchful murderbots come into play.

      • P.Funk says:

        Not if you decriminalize drugs and provide a government sourced daily fix for existing drug users with appropriately supervised injection/application site while simultaneously nationalizing any business which the cartels try to buy as a way to legitimize their now stagnant wealth.

    • phelix says:

      I would also like to see the creator(s) of the current YouTube layout get flogged with iPads.

      • Xiyng says:

        That might be going too far. Couldn’t we just resort to good old-fashioned whips?

    • HadToLogin says:

      Only problem I see is Allah Akbar, lelelelelelele!!!

    • SillyWizard says:

      Good luck promoting art while simultaneously removing freedom of religion.

      Idiot.

      • fish99 says:

        Unless he’s ninja edited, he didn’t say anything about removing religious freedom, he just said people would abandon religion. Also art requires imagination, and sometimes belief, but it doesn’t need organized religion.

        • SillyWizard says:

          What exactly do you think “mandate” means?

          Educate yourself on art history — and religious history — before declaring what it does or does not need. Or more accurately, did or did not need. And what does happen, requires something to did happen, first!

          Figure that one out.

          • battles_atlas says:

            So because the church played a prominent role in art at some particular points in history, you’re saying you can’t have art without religion?

            Also, you’ve misunderstood the use of ‘mandate’, it has two meanings, and you’ve fixated on the wrong one.

            Probably best to withdraw the ‘idiot’ comment, no?

          • fish99 says:

            I scan read and actually managed to miss the word mandate.

            Your point about art history is irrelevant though, we’re not talking about how art got to the point it’s at today or what part the Church’s riches played in that, we’re talking about the abstract point of whether you can have artistic expression without religion, which of course you can. You can even have faith without religion, and vice versa.

            Also he was obviously kidding.

          • SillyWizard says:

            He was kidding, sure, but he was also touching on a pet peeve of mine: the relationship between religious history and art. And I’m not at all talking about the church funding artists, I’m talking about the role which personal struggles of faith specifically played in the lives of many of the world’s most influential artists. I’m talking about the agony and the ecstasy, passion and subversion and forwarding the culture through paintings which portrayed religious themes, sure, but pushed the boundaries of propriety, church authority, and understanding of things divine and profane.

            The arts — and the various religions worldwide which have inspired them — cover everything between wonderful and foul. You cannot have “artistic expression” as it exists today because history happened the way it did, and the way it did involved religions (from Islamic to Hindu to Christianity) providing both positive and negative inspiration to artists (and plenty of fertile soil for personal turmoil) and the cultures from which sprang those religions (or vice versa).

          • SuicideKing says:

            I’m pretty sure he meant liberal arts anyway, so calm your underwear.

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        Don Reba says:

        It actually worked out well in practice when people tried it. Soviet Union was quite stellar at art, for example. Science, too.

        • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

          Yeah, I especially liked the part where artists whose art didn’t match up exactly with the regime’s ideas of what art should be got their lives destroyed.

          (Case in point: Nikolai Roslavets, one of the great underappreciated composers of the 20th century, who was a true believer in the communistic ideals but whose specific ideas about how “complicated” art/music should be made available to the masses was interpreted as “oh he doesn’t like work songs”. He lost his job, then proceeded to write work songs and was miserable until his death.)

          • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

            Lots of great art comes from China too. And the United States. And the Netherlands. Common denominator must be their totalitarian regimes, right?

          • dE says:

            Well you’re driving a clean 2 out of 3 score there with those totalitarian regimes…

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            Don Reba says:

            That’s kind of besides the point. The point is that freedom of religion has been proven to not be necessary for art.

      • Tei says:

        you have nothing against killing everybody in monaco, luxemburg, but are against removing superstitions???
        removing supersitiions is really where you draw the line?

        Ok. I will change the plan. You guys will be allowed to have one religion. Teism. You can love the Tei.

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      MajorManiac says:

      I’d vote for him

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      God Emperor of Dune. ‘Nuf said.

    • Megakoresh says:

      I like how one religious moron cut into a comical post with an absurd comment and bunch of other morons have actually starting arguing instead of ignoring the retard. It was such a funny discussion until that moment.

  4. Eddy9000 says:

    Water slides? You’d be lucky to get a packet of jelly babies and a toffee crisp.

  5. YogSo says:

    Earlier today, Gap Gen said that the header image in the article about The Amazing Spider-man 2 was the best one ever.

    He obviously spoke too soon ;-)

  6. Runty McTall says:

    I’m sorry to nitpick, but generally if you buy something, you have less money than before?

    Now John, on the other hand, would have slides like a mofo…

  7. The Random One says:

    Business are serious business.

  8. Keyrock says:

    You post THAT picture on the front page yet neglect to use a “Nightmare Fuel” tag?

  9. applecup says:

    Soo… does this mean that WoW and Starcraft are now indie titles? :U

    • Soulstrider says:

      Oh you

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      Aerothorn says:

      Activision is still publicly owned, so the very opposite of independent. So no.

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        DrScuttles says:

        Well that crushes my fevered dreams of an indie Activision making an 8 bit platform game about war, from the perspective of the emotions of a sentient rifle.

      • Syra says:

        By this definition half life 3 is an indie game…

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          Aerothorn says:

          Yes, I would agree with such a definition. Conversely, Flower/Journey were not independent games.

  10. luieburger says:

    Whelp… there go the last remains of the great company once called Blizzard. Swallowed whole by the corporate machine. We’ll miss you, Blizzard. At least we have some good memories.

    • Syra says:

      Uhhh why is this different to when in 2008 they were bought by vivendi, or when before that they were bought by a venture capitalist or….

      If anything this is one less layer of companies that own companies that own blizzard which is, these days, an okay developer.

      • NotQuiteDeadYet says:

        Why only OK? Their newest StarCraft was well received and continues to be the biggest national pastime of South Korea (I think?). Even RPS liked it. And they put out that Hearthstone card game, that people, once again including RPS, seem to like. When exactly did Blizzard stop making good games?

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          DragonOfTime says:

          I don’t think they ever stopped making good games, what happened was that more companies started making equally good or better games.

          Also, I personally feel that their newer games lack a certain something. A “soul” for the lack of a better word. Might just be me though.

          • Fenix says:

            No you are exactly right. I played and enjoyed the 2 Starcraft II’s, but they didn’t excite me the way I was supposed to be. They were very good games and all but…

  11. fish99 says:

    Maybe Blizzard can buy themselves out of ActiBlizzard now.

  12. BreadBitten says:

    I wanted to buy myself back too, but then I realized that no one had bought me yet.

  13. Grape Flavor says:

    Okay, I have to ask: Who is this Graham fellow, and most importantly, what has he done with Alec?

    Maybe it’s just my faulty perception, but I haven’t seen Alec’s name on an article in quite some time. If he has gone missing I feel like RPS has an obligation to try and find out what has become of him, rather than substitute this mysterious “Graham” and hope the readers don’t notice.

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    Monkeyshines says:

    I actually own shares in Activision. It was the first stock, along with Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) I bought in early 2010. The stock price languished forever, till it suddenly popped up. I held on to it because of a lot of investingy type things like free cash flow but never added to my initial position because, well, I just didn’t like them much.

    No real point to this post, but since this article seems to focus on the business rather than their output, I’m curious if anybody else bought the company in lieu of their games?

  15. Serpok says:

    Why does it say: “John wrote about…” when that july article is signed by Adam Smith?
    And does Walker really owns RPS? I thought it was put up by a collective.

  16. Navagon says:

    The lack of Staring Eyes tag was skilfully compensated for by the mention of the drastically underrated Hudsucker Proxy.

  17. Bobka says:

    Another bloody Steam competitor is what I’m expecting.

  18. Cytrom says:

    So the Beast is free now… may god have mercy on our soul… until kotick buys his majority share too.

  19. willkuer says:

    So, do I have to imagine this like the human centipede finally eating itself and disappearing into a puff of void?