Coincidentally, the play Vivendi is reportedly trying to pull off is nearly identical to a theory published by Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter in May. And it goes a little something like this: July 9 (tomorrow) is the five-year closing date of the $18 billion Activision and Vivendi merger, which means Vivendi will have the ability to nominate a majority of Activision's board of directors. After that, the board could take out a mega loan, and initiate a dividend (a standard payment given to shareholders).
"Borrowing of $5 billion would permit a dividend of $8.5 billion. As the holder of 61 percent of Activision's common stock at March 31, 2013, we estimate Vivendi would receive approximately $5.2 billion in cash, easing its mounting debt concerns," wrote Pachter.
Pachter told Joystiq in follow-up, "Vivendi needs money and as of tomorrow, controls Activision. Activision has money. It's pretty easy to reach an appropriate conclusion from those two facts."
If you're wondering why Vivendi doesn't just find a buyer for its Activision shares instead of all this intrigue, Vivendi currently owns 702 million of Activision's 1.15 billion outstanding shares. At face value, that's worth $10.15 billion. Vivendi can make half that and keep its ownership of Activision through this other maneuver.