Vivendi looking to divest Activision Blizzard?

09 July 2012 | Kavit Majithia


French telecoms and media company, Vivendi, is rumoured to be sourcing out bidders for its video game division Activision Blizzard.

Reuters reports the company has gone to a bank to talk to possible buyers for the company, in a bid to reduce its debt burden and falling share price.

Vivendi has experienced a period of significant uncertainty following the exit of its chief executive, Jean-Bernard Lévy. Ratings agency S&P placed the company on a negative credit watch last week because of its uncertain future.

Vivendi owns a 60% stake in Activision, which is the biggest video game publisher in the US by market capitalisation. It is thought any divestment could raise up to $10 billion for the French operator.

Rumoured interested parties include China’s investment company Tencent, Time Warner, Microsoft and private equity giants KKR, Providence and Blackstone.

The company has been subject to scrutiny from a financial point of view after its acquisition of French mobile operator SFR, which has struggled to cope with the entrance of low cost operator Free Mobile in the French market.

According to sources close to the company, Vivendi does not view Activision as part of its core business, and it would be the easiest subsidiary to offload.