Vivendi may spin off Activision Blizzard off into new company

Activision Blizzard’s parent company Vivendi is considering breaking up its company into multiple parts that would see its media components consolidated into a single new company.

Anonymous sources familiar with the private internal deliberations at Vivendi over whether or not to break up the company told Bloomberg that Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and May’s Diablo III, would be consolidated alongside the Universal Music Group into one entity while its telecommunications and content distribution businesses would be split into a second. Like some other companies, Vivendi has struggled to recover in the years since the market crash of 2008.

Splitting up a company’s multiple divisions into new entities is often as much a PR move to boost investor interest and shareholder morale as it is a functional one to improve business. Motorola made a similar split at the end of 2010, breaking up into Motorola Mobility, which comprised its mobile phone and gadgets business, and Motorola Solutions, the company’s infrastructure business. As recent months have shown, that move presaged the selling off of Motorola Mobility to Google.

That’s not to say that Vivendi is looking to sell off Activision Blizzard or its broader media business. Activision Blizzard is, considering the tenuous state of the big budget video game market, a strong earner for Vivendi. This move could simply protect Activision and the Universal Music Group from what ails the rest of the business.

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