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Report: Microsoft Could Buy Activision

July 12, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

Vivendi, the huge French conglomerate, is currently contemplating selling off the world’s largest publisher, Activision Blizzard, for up to $10 billion – possibly to platform holder Microsoft.

Reuters reports that “five sources close the situation” claim that Vivendi is looking to offload its 60% share in the multiplatform publisher. A source close to the Vivendi board said:

It’s nothing official yet, but they’ve asked a bank to go and talk to possible buyers for Activision.

While a formal process has not started yet, bankers close to Vivendi are apparently testing the waters by talking to the few cash-rich companies that could make such a deal, including China’s Tencent and U.S. duo Time Warner, KKR, Providence and Blackstone, and, importantly Microsoft.

On the subject of Microsoft, a source allegedly said:

They probably don’t want to distract themselves too much, but they are the ones who, if they want to stay in games, would think about owning some of these big franchises, not just providing the consoles.

Microsoft has already heavily advertised the Xbox 360 as the “Call of Duty console”, as well as signing a multi-year, multi-game timed DLC exclusivity contract. But Microsoft buying Activision would instantly devalue the company, as making future games Xbox-exclusive would significantly impact sales. Of course, Sony would be affected to an even greater degree, with some of the best selling games being denied a release on their platform.

Stay tuned to PSLS to find out whether Microsoft, or someone else, will buy Activision, or if the company will be spun off.