Activision Blizzard is a computer and video game company based in Santa Monica, United States. The company was formed from the merger of publisher Activision with Vivendi Universal Games. In terms of sales, the company is the leader in computer and video games sector. The Company's shares are traded under the symbol ATVI on NASDAQ. Majority owner of Activision Blizzard was until July 2013 Vivendi.
Activision Blizzard was born on 10 July 2008 by the merger of the U.S. company Activision and Vivendi Games, a 100 % subsidiary of the media company Vivendi. The division of Vivendi Games became part of Activision, Vivendi what with 52 percent of the shares received the majority of shares in Activision Blizzard. Vivendi has secured the possibility of raising its stake to 68 percent above options.
The Blizzard part in the Company's name goes back to the computer game developer Blizzard Entertainment, Vivendi Games, which brought in with the new group. Due to the notoriety through the development of the computer game World of Warcraft, the high share of sales in Vivendi Games and autonomy, the studio enjoys both under Vivendi Games and in the new group, the fusion partner Blizzard decided to accommodate the Company's behalf.
Activision was founded on 1 October 1979 by four former Atari game designer David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead and the manager Jim Levy, who came from the music industry. The developers had been involved in previous years in the development of video games for the Atari 2600 game console. Here, differences between them and their employer arose because of its handling of the developed games. The developers have criticized especially not to be involved in the success of a game - not even her name was called. This caused them to start their own business. Jim Levy should thereby give the company economically stable legs and became Managing Director (CEO). Activision was the first legally fully independent developer of video games. 2003, the developer received for this step the The First Penguin Award at the Game Developers Conference.
In the early years Activision games developed for the Atari 2600 and was also the first game companies for not built by himself consoles. This new situation resulted from the establishment to Activision's 1982 legal disputes. Also in 1982 appeared the Pitfall developed by David Crane! , Activision's most successful game for the Atari 2600. Pitfall! reached a sales figure of over four million copies and was very successful commercially for Activision.
Falling sales of the Atari 2600 and the financial security through high sales figures meant that Activision beginning of the 1980s also other platforms turned and with the development of games for other game consoles and the start of production of computer games for PCs opened up new markets. However, the further procedure of expansion did not care at all founders for approval, so that in 1984 Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead announced and together founded the new computer game developer Accolade. In 1986, Activision the troubled developer of interactive fiction Infocom. Here, Jim Levy was a great advocate of this acquisition, which was internally controversial. However, Quick Hits in the restructuring of Infocom he could not produce. Six months after the takeover, he resigned; his successor was Bruce Davis, who had been against the takeover. Then left 1986, David Crane due to personal differences between him and Davis Activision.
Under the leadership of Davis, a restructuring of the group began. In addition to computer and video games and other application software should be produced. This led in 1988 to the renaming of Activision in Mediagenic because you kept this name more appropriate to cover the entire spectrum of the revamped group. Activision but was further used as a brand in the gaming industry. The business application software ran but bad from the beginning. The financial results of the company deteriorated rapidly in the late 1980s. The acquired from Infocom studios continued to achieve loss. As a consequence, in 1989, obtained by the acquisition of Infocom development departments were closed, and only eleven of 26 employees received a takeover bid, it took five to. At the broader formation Mediagenic the above company held now clear, however, although the application areas also were unprofitable. By 1992, the situation deteriorated so dramatically that Mediagenic went bankrupt. Bruce Davis left the company as a result.
The company was reorganized as a result of insolvency: only the profitable computer and video game segment was continued, also took Mediagenic in the context of insolvency proceedings the developer The Disc Company. In December 1992, the company was also awarded with Activision its original name again. With the release of games collections the new corporate leadership, the company redesigned rebuilt. The most successful was the collection published under the title " The Lost Treasures of Infocom " Summary of Infocom games, which worked unprofitable until its closure under Activision. In the aftermath Activision stepped on more as a publisher for other development studios. Beginning in the later 1990s expanded Activision mainly with strategic acquisitions of development studios who've been at Activision under contract, prominent examples were the acquisitions of Raven Software in 1997 and Neversoft, the developer of the Tony Hawk series, in 1999. To 25. birthday in 2004, Activision announced record financial results and again since the 1992 bankruptcy still rising profits every year.
The focus was strengthened also placed on the licensing and implementation of games to well-known series such as Star Trek or Spiderman. Own well-known brands such as the Call of Duty franchise of 2003 acquired developer Infinity Ward be exploited by regular releases of successors brisk. The partially very short release cycles that can not implement a development studio alone, meant that some series are manufactured in parallel by two games developers. Since the series games on game consoles sold much better, the strength of Activision's merger with Vivendi Games was at the console division.
The French conglomerate Vivendi acquired, in 1998 Havas. Through the acquisition of these also French media agency, the company entered the computer games market. Havas had guessed by a massive accounting scandal stumble company Cendant acquired the software in the same year and thus came into possession of the computer games business. Cendant software itself was created in December 1997 through the merger of CUC International, a service group, and the real estate company HFS Incorporated. CUC International was only in February 1996 in size with the acquisition of computer games Group Sierra Entertainment and the intermediary Davidson & Associates, who in 1994 bought Blizzard Entertainment shortly before their breakthrough with the game Warcraft, for a total of about 3 billion U.S. dollars in the business entered.
While Blizzard Entertainement survived as a clear run, single and commercially successful development studio, the change of ownership without any major problems, it came at Sierra in consequence of a crisis. As of 1997, the company was no longer performed with clear lines; 1998 and 1999 there were several reorganizations, lost their jobs in consequence of many employees. 1999 expressed the resigned from the company in 1997 founder of Sierra Ken Williams all retiring employees by letter his sympathy and regret what had become of the company he had founded.
With the recent restructuring under Vivendi Sierra was primarily set up as a publisher: Most development studios were closed in 1999. But even in the first five years of the 21st century -serviced Sierra not profitable, so that Vivendi in 2004 decided the last two remaining in the Sierras owned development studios Impressions Games and closing Papyrus games. Thus remained the only development studio Blizzard Entertainment in Vivendi's possession, who presented better and better business results at this time.
In 2005, then appeared, developed by Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft, which was conceived as an online role-playing game with a monthly fee. In the first year of full operation Blizzard generated more than one billion U.S. dollars in sales only by the monthly fees. These successes led to Vivendi each quarter was able to announce new record numbers, and the importance of Sierra in the company fell further. Since Blizzard only created games for the PC market, they also presented the main sales field under Vivendi Games dar.
Activision Blizzard originated from the previously announced December 2, 2007 merger of Activision and Vivendi Games, the Vivendi group is initially hold 52 % stake. Vivendi intends but to keep share buybacks ultimately 68 % stake in Activision Blizzard. The shareholders approved on July 8, 2008, the transaction; previously approved already the antitrust merger, so that Activision Blizzard occurs as a company since July 10, 2008.
Fine for cartel involvement
In February 2011, the European Court of Justice upheld a fine of 500,000 euros against Activision Blizzard. Reason was the participation in a cartel for Nintendo video game consoles, and media. Illegal agreements should restrict parallel trade ( Case No. C-260/09 P). The Commission fined Nintendo, various dealers and Activision Blizzard Germany GmbH fines amounting to a total of 167.843 million euros. Activision Blizzard should pay a fine of one million euros, the amount was reduced to 500,000 euros because of the passive role of Activision Blizzard. The company lodged an appeal, which, however, were rejected by the ECJ, so that the fine was confirmed.
Detachment from Vivendi
In July 2012, Vivendi announced its intention to sell Activision Blizzard. Potential buyers belongs to information from Reuters next to Microsoft and Tencent also Time Warner. However, a sale did not materialize.
In July 2013 speculation about a forced special dividend came in a total amount of three billion U.S. dollars to the shareholders of Activision Blizzard, of which the majority shareholder indebted Vivendi would have benefited in particular. However, this was not in accordance with the company's management, since the dissolution of deposits abroad would have been connected due to tax payments by financial losses. In addition, the cash reserves were planned for the free purchase of the company by Vivendi. A few days later, it was finally announced that Activision Blizzard will detach itself from its majority owner. Vivendi would therefore reduce its shareholding from 61 to 12%. Should be taken over this for a total of 6.2 billion U.S. dollars of Activision Blizzard itself and an investor group led by CEO Bobby Kotick and his deputy Brian Kelly. The proportion of Activision Blizzard in the aggregate should be at 5.83 billion, of which 1.2 billion through its own cash.
Important games and game franchises of this company include Diablo, StarCraft (II ), Warcraft, Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, James Bond, Tony Hawk's Skateboarding, Spider -Man, Spyro, World of Warcraft, Scarface: The World Is Yours and various Star Trek games.