Delaware Court Blocks Activision Blizzard Buyback

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Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI)’s plans to buy back the bulk of Vivendi SA-ADR (OTCMKTS:VIVHY) (EPA:VIV)’s stake in the company for $8.2 billion was blocked yesterday by a Delaware court, adding further delays to the company’s plan to regain fuller control of it’s video game making.

Delaware Court Blocks Activision Blizzard Buyback

Activision Blizzard’s plan to purchase Viveni stakes

Due to a shareholder’s lawsuit, a judge with Delaware’s Court of Chancery issued a preliminary injunction against the buyback yesterday. Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) had planned to purchase Vivendi SA-ADR (OTCMKTS:VIVHY) (EPA:VIV)’s stake, which is nearly 61 percent of the company, in two transactions. The company said today that in order for its buyback plans to be realized it would either need to win an appeal or a shareholder vote on the matter.

While both companies had hoped to complete the deal by the end of the month, this injunction will now make that nearly impossible.

“Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) remains committed to the transaction and is exploring the steps it will take to complete the transaction as expeditiously as possible,” said the company in a statement.

Douglas Hayes on the share purchase

Douglas Hayes, the shareholder who brought the suit against Activision, believes that the purchase must be approved by the (video game) publisher’s independent investors. This unexpected impediment may stop this from being one of the biggest deals of 2013, and hampers the plans of the two companies involved.

Under the stewardship of Robert Kotick, Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) has made a number of acquisitions that have turned it into a video game giant. “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” are massive players in this big-money industry, and Kotick has never shied from publicly making his plans to buy out Vivendi SA-ADR (OTCMKTS:VIVHY) (EPA:VIV) a secret.

The injunction also hampers the French conglomerate Vivendi SA-ADR (OTCMKTS:VIVHY) (EPA:VIV)’s plans to remake itself for the next decade. Vivendi had hoped that the proceeds of the sale might allow it to spin off its SFR telecom division with a shift towards media. The company recently announced that it would sell its stake in Moroccan telecommunications to further build a stack of cash for its shift to media.

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