Activision Shareholder Sues Vivendi to Halt Insider Sale

A shareholder of Activision Blizzard Inc. sued the company’s co-chairman, chief executive officer and majority stockholder, Vivendi SA, to halt a stock sale that would give officers control of the biggest U.S. video-game maker.

Shareholder Douglas M. Hayes wants a court in Delaware to halt the proposed private stock sale and to force the company to give non-Vivendi shareholders a chance to vote on the proposed deal. The sale would give control of the company to CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, according to the lawsuit.

The sale would “unjustly enrich Kelly, Kotick and the other participants,” Hayes claimed in the lawsuit filed yesterday in Delaware’s Chancery Court.

In July, Activision announced it would buy back $5.83 billion of its shares, while a group including Kotick, Kelly and Shenzhen, China-based game maker Tencent Holdings Ltd. will pay $2.34 billion to bring down Vivendi’s stake in the world’s biggest video-game publisher from 61 percent to 12 percent.

The company makes “Call of Duty” and the online computer game “World of Warcraft.”

Kotick’s investor group will emerge as the biggest shareholder with a 25 percent stake. Activision has climbed to $17.19 from $15.18 on the Nasdaq Stock Market since the deal was announced July 25.

Activision shares fell almost 2 percent to $16.88 at 2:08 in Nasdaq trading in New York.

Company spokeswoman Maryanne Lataif didn’t respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Hayes v. Activision, CA8885, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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