Vivendi, Activision Form Games Juggernaut

The CEOs behind such hits as Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft talk about the potential of the $18.9 billion tieup: namely, a new No. 1 video game company
CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy says Vivendi will be the majority shareholder in Activision Blizzard "for the long term." Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Jean-Bernard Lévy and Robert Kotick have had a busy holiday season. On Dec. 2, Lévy, the chief executive of Vivendi (VIV.PA), and Kotick, the CEO of Activision (ATVI), announced an $18.9 billion deal that will create the world's largest independent video game publisher and a fierce competitor to the longtime industry leader, $3 billion Electronic Arts (ERTS). The deal combines Activision, a $1.5 billion maker of the top-selling Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, and Tony Hawk franchises, with Vivendi Games, whose Blizzard Entertainment unit has a huge hit with World of Warcraft. The online fantasy game has 9.3 million members paying monthly subscription fees to play.

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