Vivendi sells $427 million in Activision Blizzard stock

Posted Nov 16th 2011 4:00PM by Alexander Sliwinski

French media conglomerate Vivendi, majority owner of Activision Blizzard, sold three percent of its stock in the publishing giant, valued at around $427 million. It now owns 60 percent. The reduction of ownership in the company that, thanks to a little game called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, just had the largest entertainment launch of all time, came as a surprise.

As the Financial Times reports, the prevailing theory is that Vivendi's $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI's music business last week required the company to create some quick cash to stay sexy on paper.

"The wisdom of selling about three percent in a business that is one of the key bastions of growth for the group to aid a transformational acquisition in a challenged business, such as recorded music, seems questionable," Claudio Aspesi of Bernstein Research told the Financial Times.

"This is a tactical disposal with regards to our overall capital structure, and we remain committed to Activision and to being the main shareholder," a Vivendi spokesman told Reuters. The company is gonna have to be if it wants to keep siphoning assets for its portfolio from a shrinking industry.

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