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Activision-Blizzard split from Vivendi halted


As reported in July, Activision-Blizzard made the move to separate itself from majority shareholder Vivendi Universal by buying itself back to the tune of over 8 billion dollars in total. About a week after the announcement, shareholder Todd Miller filed a complaint against Activision-Blizzard for doing so. Earlier this month, shareholder Douglas Hayes instigated a lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard to stop the sale, alleging that the company's CEO, chairman, and a handful of investors will benefit disproportionately from the sale. As a result, the deal is now halted for the time being.

The lawsuit hinges around the fact that the Activision-Blizzard buyback from Vivendi is actually a two-part share acquisition. The first part involves Activision-Blizzard, as a company, purchasing around 429 million shares from Vivendi. The second part -- which was the subject of Todd Miller's complaint and is at the center of the lawsuit -- involves the private investment vehicle ASAC II LP, headed by Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairmain Brian Kelly, concurrently purchasing around 172 million shares from Vivendi. Hayes v. Activision-Blizzard alleges that the approval of the second sale represents a "breach of of [Activision-Blizzard and Vivendi's] fiduciary duties" and violates "certain provisions of the Company's certificate of incorporation" because it failed to submit the sale's approval to a non-Vivendi stockholder vote.

For its part, Activision-Blizzard seems to view the halt as merely a setback, and intends to continue forward with the buyback. As per the following statement Activision-Blizzard "remains committed to the transaction and is exploring the steps it will take to complete the transaction as expeditiously as possible."

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