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Activision Blizzard Completes Deal To Buy Itself

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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Graham Smith

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