Vivendi Activision Merger Gets EU Approval

Vivendi Activision’s merger got support from the European Commission on Wednesday to combine video game units in a $9.85 billion deal.

The merger deal will give Vivendi a 52 percent stake in a new industry giant called Activision Blizzard with annual revenue of $3.8 billion, rivaling that of Electronic Arts Inc, the world’s biggest independent game publisher.

Vivendi, a French telecom and media group, won permission from the European Commission on Wednesday to merge its videogame unit with Activision Inc in a $9.85 billion deal.

“The proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition,” the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, said.

The merger deal will give Vivendi a 52 percent stake in a new industry giant called Activision Blizzard with annual revenue of $3.8 billion, rivaling that of Electronic Arts Inc, the world’s biggest independent game publisher.

The Commission said for “all categories of game software, the combined firm would continue to face several strong, effective competitors, such as Electronic Arts, and the game console manufacturers, such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft”.

Activision has been rich with success from games such as “Guitar Hero”, “Call of Duty” and “Tony Hawk” but has lacked an offering in the online role-playing area, dominated by “World of Warcraft” from Vivendi’s Blizzard Entertainment.

The new formed unit, Activision Blizzard, will own the popular gaming titles from Activision.

Activision develops, publishes, and distributes game software for PCs, video game consoles, and portable consoles. Vivendi is a communication and media group with activities in music, TV, cinema, telecommunications, and video games.

Vivendi announced in December to merge its games subsidiary with Activision.