Vivendi sells stake in Activision Blizzard
French media and telecoms group Vivendi has sold a $427 million stake in Activision Blizzard, makers of the Call of Duty video game series and the popular online game World of Warcraft.
The sale will cut Vivendi’s holdings in Activision Blizzard from 63% to 60%.
The most recent Call of Duty title, Modern Warfare 3, was the fastest-selling entertainment product in history, selling 6.5 million units in North America and the UK in the first 24 hours after its release. The previous record was held by last year’s title Call of Duty Black Ops, which sold $5.6 million in 24 hours. Stats website Online Marketing Trends says that the online gaming market is now worth more than $15 billion a year.
Vivendi recently purchased EMI’s recorded music division for $1.9 billion, raising questions as to whether the company had been stretched more than it had admitted by the acquisition. The Financial Times reported that the group had denied the 3% sale of one of its prized assets had been prompted by warnings from financial ratings agencies regarding the deteriorating conditions in European credit markets or the recent EMI purchase.
Vivendi bought a Vodafone’s 44% stake in French telecoms company SFR in April for €7.95 billion.