December 02, 2007


Activision and Vivendi announced that they have signed a definitive agreement combining Vivendi games -- which include Blizzard Entertainment’s™ World of Warcraft®, #1 worlds's multi-player online RPG game -- with Activision, known for it's top selling franchises, including Guitar Hero®, Call of Duty® and the Tony Hawk series, as well as Spider-Man™, X-Men™, Shrek®, James Bond™ and TRANSFORMERS™. Creating a world's largest pure console game publisher and play online Total Transaction value at $18.9 Billion.

Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Vivendi Games, has projected calendar 2007 revenues of $1.1 billion, operating margins of over 40% and approximately $520 million of operating profit. Blizzard owns the #1 multi-player online role-playing game franchise, World of Warcraft, which currently has over 9.3 million subscribers worldwide. Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, Warcraft®, StarCraft® and Diablo® games account for four of the top-five best-selling PC game titles of all time.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Vivendi stated: “This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector. By combining Vivendi’s games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry. We believe this transaction will create significant value for Activision Blizzard and Vivendi stockholders. In Activision, we have found a partner with a highly complementary business and strong operating team. Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly are industry pioneers, well known for creating shareholder value. The combined strength of the existing management teams at both companies will set the stage for further profitable growth of Activision Blizzard. We look forward to being an active and supportive majority stockholder in a company that is poised to lead the worldwide interactive entertainment industry in the years ahead.”

René Penisson, Member of the Management Board of Vivendi and current Chairman of Vivendi Games, added: “We are very confident that by combining forces, Activision Blizzard will set the highest standards in quality, reputation and profitability, and will bring together the best creative teams in the industry. The combination of this unique product portfolio with highly professional employees gives us great confidence in the growth prospects for Activision Blizzard.”

Said Robert Kotick, Activision's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: “This is an outstanding transaction for Activision and our stockholders, as well as a pivotal event in the continuing transformation of the interactive entertainment industry. By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences. By joining forces with Vivendi Games, we will become the immediate leader in the highly profitable online games business and gain a large footprint in the rapidly growing Asian markets, including China and Korea, while maintaining our leading operating performance across North America and Europe. Activision stockholders will benefit from significantly increased earnings power and the recurring nature and predictability of subscription-based revenues, while also having the opportunity, if they choose, to receive $27.50 per share for a portion of their shares in the post-closing tender offer.”

Kotick continued: “Vivendi Games provides Activision with unique strategic and financial benefits and will allow us to leverage our franchises into emerging online opportunities as Blizzard has done so successfully. Activision hasbeen very focused on margin expansion, and this transaction will meaningfully increase our overall operating margins as we expand our franchises online and in new geographies. Diversifying our revenue base among subscription-based online, console and PC formats, as well as wireless and casual emerging opportunities, gives us the broadest platform to capitalize on industry growth. With Blizzard’s successful franchises, such as World of Warcraft, StarCraft and an exciting pipeline of yet-to-be announced titles, Vivendi Games’ and Blizzard’s management team will join with Activision’s strong and experienced leaders to become an even more powerful force for innovation in online and offline interactive entertainment across a wide range of platforms. This transaction also provides a unique relationship with Universal Music Group – the world’s largest music company – which will benefit Guitar Hero and further extend our sizable leadership position in music-based games.”

Mike Morhaime, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blizzard, added: "Blizzard's industry-leading PC games business, with a track record of nine consecutive bestsellers and a global subscriber base of more than 9.3 million World of Warcraft players, is an exceptional fit for Activision's highly profitable console games business. From our interactions with the Activision team, it is clear we have much in common in terms of our approaches to game development and publishing. Above all, we are looking forward to continue creating great games for Blizzard gamers around the world, and we believe this new partnership will help us to do that even better than before."

Activision Blizzard’s board of directors will be comprised of eleven members: six directors designated by Vivendi, two Activision management directors and three independent directors who currently serve on Activision’s board of directors. René Penisson, currently a member of the Management Board of Vivendi and Chairman of Vivendi Games, will serve as Chairman of Activision Blizzard.

Vivendi is a global leader in digital entertainment with activities in music, TV, cinema, mobile, internet, and games through its ownership of Universal Music Group, Canal+ Group, SFR, Maroc Telecom and Vivendi Games. In 2006, Vivendi had revenues of over €20 billion and a global headcount of 39,000. Listed on the Paris Stock market, Vivendi is a member of the CAC 40.

Activision, Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products. Founded in 1979, Activision posted net revenues of $1.5 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. Activision has more than 2,000 employees worldwide.

Source : activisionblizzard

New leaders and new records in Greenpeace’s latest greener electronics guide

The sixth edition of Greenpeace International’s ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ has been expanded to include televisions and game consoles.(1) Market leaders Microsoft, Nintendo, Philips and Sharp enter at the bottom of the ranking of environmental performance with Nintendo being the first company scoring zero out of a possible 10 points. Philips and Microsoft performed little better, scoring only 2 and 2.7, respectively. The global games consoles sector shipped 62.7 million units in 2006. Growth of 14.9 per cent in the year made it one of the fastest developing sectors in the field of electronic products. The low scores from leading manufacturers Nintendo and Microsoft reveal that they still have a long way to go in improving their environmental policies and practices.

“It’s encouraging to see Sharp and Microsoft providing timelines for the complete elimination of vinyl plastic (PVC) and all brominated flame retardants (BFRs) across their entire product range,” commented Iza Kruszewska, toxics campaigner at Greenpeace International.

The new edition of the quarterly guide shows important changes at the top of the ranking. Sony Ericsson has taken over the top spot from Nokia while Samsung and Sony have surged ahead to now occupy second and third positions.

Nokia and Motorola have both received penalty points for corporate misbehaviour. Greenpeace tested the implementation of product takeback programmes in six countries where Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson claim on their websites to operate product takeback programmes.(2) Nokia representatives in the Philippines, Thailand, Argentina, Russia and India were not informed about their companies’ own programmes and in many cases provided misleading information. Motorola staff in the Philippines, Thailand and India were unable to direct customers to collection points in their respective countries.

As a result, Nokia falls from top position to ninth and Motorola drops from ninth position to fourteenth.

“Companies shouldn’t be under any illusions that we won’t check up on their claims of green greatness,” warned Iza Kruszewska.

Apple, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba have recently indicated that they now produce personal computers, lighting LCD panels, camcorders and digital cameras - or at least major components of these items - which are free of PVC and/or BFRs.

Firms which are upwardly mobile in the Greenpeace Guide are those whose entire products, or major components of products, are entirely free of specified hazardous ingredients. Companies which simply commit to eliminating harmful chemicals sometime in the future achieve a lower score.

“Commitments to coming clean in the future are no longer sufficient to secure a top place in the ranking,” said Iza Kruszewska. “Companies that aspire to environmental leadership need to be putting products on the market that are free of harmful chemicals. And they need to offer customers, wherever they are, a service to take back old products for recycling responsibly,” she added.

Notes to Editor

(1) The sixth edition of Greenpeace International’s ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ is available at:

(2) Evaluation of Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson’s takeback programmes performed in US, Philippines, Thailand, Russia, Argentina and India


Oh Well Le'ts Playing With Safe :)