The Wall Street Journal (sub required) is reporting that Vivendi is starting to turn more gears to see Activision-Blizzard get sold. As we mentioned in June, the French telecom giant hasn’t had a great couple of years, while ActiBliz has been storming it. Selling off the publisher/developer could see a huge injection of cash go into the share-troubled megacorp. Holding 61% of the company, Vivendi has apparently been struggling to find a buyer, with rumours of Microsoft and Disney turning up their noses. Poor Activision – no one wants them. Now Vivendi have enlisted the help of some investment banks, says the WSJ, to help shift the business. And what lovely banks, too.
It’s hard to think of two more popular banking names right now than Goldman Sachs and Barclays. GS perhaps best known for helping Greece disguise its debt issues, shorting bonds, and infinity other controversies, and Barclays of course just now a touch more famous for fixing libor rates than their chained down pens. But besides it happening to be two particularly naughty banks involved, their presence is to help shake off Activision, which currently no one seems to want. Despite, er, “market capitalization of about $13.4 billion”. That sounds good, right?
It’s not an entirely popular decision within Vivendi either. At the end of last month, chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy jumped ship over the matter, presumably with some pondering why they’d want to be rid of one of their properties that actually makes money.
As LA Observed points out, Activision have their own issues. Despite the extraordinary success of their Call Of Duty license, the perception in the business world is one of an organisation stuck in the past, unable to catch up with internet-based gaming. Personally I think this is a bit of a delusion – console gaming isn’t exactly struggling right now, despite this odd meme that floats around suggesting the internet is stealing all their monies – and Acti have massive success with the online content of their key franchises, let alone the almost entirely online-based output from Blizzard. However, the shouty business types fear that despite their lack of debt and massive amounts of cash, they will struggle to grow. Gosh, they’re always so pessimistic!
So, do you want it?