Eyes trained on Ubisoft?
Many in video game circles know Vivendi solely for its role in owning Activision Blizzard in recent years. The timeline of events looks something like this: The French mass media company owned a controlling stake in Activision Blizzard from 2008 until 2013; that’s when Activision Blizzard bought its independence back for some $8.2 billion.
Ever since, Vivendi has held a smaller share of the video game making behemoth — slowly dwindling from somewhere around 25 percent down to about 5 percent. Today, the group of investors announced that it’s completely removing itself from Activision Blizzard. In a press release on its site, Vivendi revealed that it’s selling its remaining 41.5 million shares for approximately $1.1 billion.
Vivendi’s decision seems to be fueled entirely by Activision Blizzard’s recent stock performance. “The decision to implement these transactions was taken in view of the evolution of Activision Blizzard’s stock price,” Vivendi commented. Activision Blizzard’s stock rose from $18.55 per share at this time in 2015 to $35.40 at day’s end yesterday.
This doesn’t mean that Vivendi is uninterested in the video game segment, however. In October, it bought approximately $272 million worth of shares of Ubisoft. Vivendi posted a declaration of interest concerning its involvement in the French publisher, possibly positioning itself for a hostile takeover. Ubisoft head Yves Guillemot called the investment “unsolicited and unwelcome.” All signs point to Vivendi continuing this trend; if it chooses to do so, it now has an extra $1.1 billion to play with.
Vivendi: unwinding of hedge and disposal of Activision Blizzard shares [Vivendi]