Activision Blizzard has regained its independence from Vivendi but Tencent's involvement may make this victory short-lived.
On July 25th at 11:59PM, Activision Blizzard announced that Bobby Kotick and a group of publishers bought 429 million shares of stock back from the French multimedia company, Vivendi. This effectively re-establishes Activision Blizzard as a majority holder, giving it back its independence. Vivendi will still be involved with Activision Blizzard as it retain a 12 percent stake in the company, but for now, Blizzard's money troubles are shifting hands.
This stock purchase comes with a price tag of $5.83 billion along with a separate purchase of $2.34 billion from an investor group led by Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly. This puts the total price of the buyback at over $8 billion. Of the $2.34 billion that was raised to purchase these shares, one of the investors includes Chinese mega-company, Tencent. This is something that gamers should make note of.
Tencent is a Chinese investment company that forcibly tried to purchase DOTA 2 at one point in addition to owning part of League of Legends, Epic Games and numerous other video game companies around the world. Reportedly, Nexon and NCSoft joined forces in 2012 in order to avoid Tencent's aggressive takeover of either company. As of 2012, Tencent holds around 43 percent of all PC gaming sales in China. One other point to make here is that when Blizzard began announcing mammoth losses in subscriptions, they said that the Chinese market was the reason why. Inside this reason is Tencent who has been pushing one of their more successful games - League of Legends.
However, Activision Blizzard is a partner with Tencent in China. They recently worked together to bring the game Call of Duty: Online to China. The game is currently in the middle of a closed beta. A trailer for this game can be seen below.
It will be interesting to see what else Tencent will do to gain more of a foothold in the American PC gaming market. In addition to seeing what Tencent will do, we can also look forward to seeing what Activision Blizzard will do in order to stop bleeding so many subscriptions. The bad news sandwich Activision Blizzard gave us as a press release indicates that WoW lost another 600,000 subscriptions.
All we can hope for is that this means that a new era of MMO is about to begin.
Source: Press Release