XI
you are not logged in
News

Microsoft's Name Mentioned In Potential Activision Buy-out

Bank asked to talk to potential buyers.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – but Microsoft has been mentioned, along with Tencent, Time Warner and some private-equity firms like KKR, Providence and Blackstone as companies that Reuters is claiming Vivendi is touting as potential buyers for Activision Blizzard.

The company, which Reuters says has a “huge debt burden” and a “flagging share price” cites a source as saying “It’s nothing official yet, but they’ve asked a bank to go and talk to possible buyers for Activision.”

Vivendi owns a 60% stake in Activision Blizzard, and a sale could help raise up to $10 billion, according to figures mentioned in the report.

Reuters says that Microsoft is a “player with the necessary firepower” but suggests they are “likely to be focused on the next generation of its Xbox console” and “probably don’t want to distract themselves too much.”

“But they are the ones who, if they want to stay in games, would think about owning some of these big franchises, not just providing the consoles,” adds the source. If Microsoft were to buy out Vivendi’s share in Activision, the benefits in terms of exclusive games from the publisher are startlingly obvious.

Read more: #
36 Comments
  1. Bilbo_bobbins
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    If that happened, I think it would be a little worrying for Microsoft. Mainly because it shows they are only focusing on one/two games to sell their console. If I was an investor of Microsoft, I would be very worried indeed. Luckily I’m not.

    Microsoft should keep open minded and focus on their console and future games.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:28.
    • bmg_123
      Member
      Since: Feb 2012

      Exactly…it would be a very short-sighted decision, considering that Call of duty has probably tipped in popularity. An especially bad decision if they paid $10bn for it!

      Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:31.
      • colmshan1990
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        It hasn’t yet.
        Each game breaks records the previous set in terms of sales.

        I’m not a CoD fan myself, but plenty are, seemingly more every year.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:34.
      • Peter Chapman
        Team TSA: Editor
        Since: Forever

        I think the most worrying aspect – and a possible reason Vivendi are trying to offload their share sooner rather than after CoD launches rake in another windfall – is that CoD’s popularity has to tip at some point.

        Activision has, for a long time, been building itself into a single franchise publisher. It has always focused and milked a franchise – Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, Call of Duty.

        When that favoured franchise crashed among the public, they always had another on the way up to carry them. They don’t have anything in reserve at the moment.

        Skylanders is an amazing product that will be printing cash for them but it’s a kid-facing fad that can only have a few years in it and it must have significant overheads with the peripherals and figures they manufacture. Nothing else is breaking through because so many of Activision’s studios are being pushed onto support for CoD.

        They don’t support their mid-range titles well at all – Singularity, Spider-Man, Prototype etc. all do moderately well but not well enough to support the massive company that Activision is now. They need a gargantuan hit franchise to support their massive scale and, once CoD implodes (as it inevitably must at some point), they’ve got nothing.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:45.
      • AG2297
        Community Manager
        Since: Feb 2009

        I agree with you on the Activision front CB, but surely the possibly even more profitable Blizzard side to the company would help to keep them going if there was huge decline in sales giving them time to restructure or reinvest? World of Warcraft is still a huge gold mine for the company and Diablo 3, despite its problems, is also hugely profitable with the auction house possibly bringing in long term cash flow.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 16:10.
  2. Jakster123x
    Member
    Since: Aug 2011

    Very interesting.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:30.
  3. Sympozium
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    if that was the case the likelyness of CoD not appearing on a future Playstation or even Nintendo would leave a huge impact on console sales I guess depending if people get sick of Cod has with previous franchises from Activision.

    Meh I don’t see that happening though

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:31.
    • Peter Chapman
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      The CoD sales split is something like 80% on the 360 and 20% on anything else though, isn’t it? So losing that on the PS3 isn’t actually likely to be a huge headache for Sony. Probably much less so than losing EA and their sport franchises, for example.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:51.
      • KeRaSh
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Really? I thought the PC share was much more dominant than that…

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 16:19.
      • damoxuk
        Member
        Since: May 2011

        Lol where the hell did that BS figure come from?

        Going off Modern warfare 3’s worldwide sales it’s :-

        14.2m (360)
        12m (ps3)
        1.4m (pc)
        0.5 (Wii)

        so clearly the 80-20% ratio you made up is clearly bollocks :D

        Courtesy of VGchartz :)

        360 is little over 50% sales so if MS did make it exclusive it would mean wiping out half there income – hardly good business sense considering the cost of the game.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 17:22.
      • BrendanCalls
        Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc - YOHIMBÉ!!!
        Since: Forever

        Nice way to talk to the Editor of the site, who has forgotten more than you’ll ever know

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 18:10.
      • Nickboss1
        Member
        Since: Mar 2010

        Superman to the rescue lol.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 18:20.
      • BrendanCalls
        Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc - YOHIMBÉ!!!
        Since: Forever

        haha, everybody gets one. Or is that Spiderman…I forget ;-)

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 18:28.
      • Peter Chapman
        Team TSA: Editor
        Since: Forever

        I’ve since been corrected in a private conversation (by someone who would actually know, rather than VGChartz, who are very vague).

        It’s more like a 60/40 split in the 360’s favour, apparently. So it would impact Sony quite a bit, but also kill sales substantially too – lose-lose? Not that it’s been enough to have impacted Activision’s decision with timed exclusive DLC.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 21:23.
  4. colmshan1990
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    If I were at Microsoft, I would be shouting ‘Buy, buy, buy!’ right now.

    The Call of Duty juggernaut is showing no signs of slowing down (despite what some may wish), if they were to get that as an exclusive, there would be a lot of PS3 only players buying Xboxes.

    Other franchises to port would be things like Diablo or World of Warcraft.
    What names like that exclusive to a console, I can’t see it not dominating a generation.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:33.
  5. AG2297
    Community Manager
    Since: Feb 2009

    Wait, what?! How on Earth do Activision Blizzard have a huge debt problem? They own the two most profitable games on the market (WoW and CoD) and are known for their careful and rather cuthroat management of studios, closing down studios that don’t generate the desired amount of profit and having one of the strongest game portfolios out there (Diablo 3 says hello)!

    How the hell have they managed to get in this situation?

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:37.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Hookers & booze. Must be.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:44.
    • colmshan1990
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009
      • RudeAwakening
        Member
        Since: Jan 2011

        Thats the funniest pic i have seen in awhile. Brilliant!

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 20:49.
    • Peter Chapman
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      Not Activision, Vivendi. They’re looking to sell their huge, profitable asset to dig themselves out of a hole made by other business interests, I assume.
      Although, Acti has three or four massive, bankable franchises, they also have dozens of studios to keep running. They’ve got a lot of expense to carry and it wouldn’t take more than one or two big failures to cause them serious grief (and close a lot of studios).

      Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:49.
      • AG2297
        Community Manager
        Since: Feb 2009

        Even with it being Vivendi rather than Activision, as you say, selling off the hugely profitable asset doesn’t seem to be the best idea but I guess it’s the asset that will also make them the most cash.

        I cant see Activision being the type to let a couple of big failures hit them, they seem a to be run a lot more efficiently than other big publishers. Then again, anything can happen, I just wouldn’t expect it to happen to Activision before any of the others.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 16:03.
      • Peter Chapman
        Team TSA: Editor
        Since: Forever

        I think Activision will be golden but I could honestly see a large proportion of their studios shuttered or restructured in order to keep the central company above water.

        As you say (elsewhere in this comment thread) Blizzard is still incredibly successful, even though the MMO market is slowly turning away from their hugely successful model and they’re not yet making the most of the new models. And Sledgehammer seemed for a while to be the next golden boys of Acti, before CoD swallowed them too. But Infinity Ward is a shell of its former self, Radical is being moved around or closed completely and Beenox are bouncing from one mid-range Spider-Man game to another with no signs of finding extra favour with Activision HQ. Multiple other smaller studios aren’t nearly so well positioned within the company, should they need to shed overheads quickly.

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 16:18.
    • TSBonyman
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      It’s not 100% clear above but it was pointed out to me recently that it’s Vivendi who have the debt problem, not Activision.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:52.
      • TSBonyman
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        Oops, should have refreshed the page quicker :)

        Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 15:54.
  6. An-dz
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    and together microsoft and activision will snatch that crown of biggest arsehole in the game industry straight off EAs money coated head.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 16:42.
    • hazelam
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009

      actually, i think ea’s crown would be safe for a good while yet if that happened.

      Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 17:05.
  7. BrendanCalls
    Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc - YOHIMBÉ!!!
    Since: Forever

    And the line between hardware & software, manufacturer & publisher would be even blurrier than ever ;-)

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 16:46.
  8. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    I reckon this would make the console war pretty one-sided if it happened. COD would probably be the primary influence, but Acti also have loads of other IP’s that gamers love, as well as parents knowing about them.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 17:45.
  9. bluetemplar
    Member
    Since: Aug 2011

    “If Microsoft were to buy out Vivendi’s share in Activision, the benefits in terms of exclusive games from the publisher are startlingly obvious.”

    I disagree completely – games like COD would cost just as much to make as they did before but only make half as much money as they did before due to being restricted to a single platform. If the company is having money problems with sales to a full console audience, I dont see how halving their potential revenue would help at all.

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 18:20.
    • Ferbles
      Member
      Since: Jul 2012

      It’s hypothetical but if Microsoft hold enough stock and/or are willing to subsidise the production costs of a COD title, they could demand an exclusive title. If you hypothetically time that to coincide with a new console launch… well that’s one hell of an opening salvo!

      Comment posted on 12/07/2012 at 08:37.
  10. Nickboss1
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    Buy sell buy sell bye bye!

    Comment posted on 11/07/2012 at 18:25.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Latest Comments