Will Microsoft, Time Warner, or Tencent buy Activision Blizzard?

will microsoft time warner or tencent buy activision blizzard vivendi sniffing out buyer in

Vivendi hasn’t entered the next phase of finding a buyer for its majority stake in video game business Activision Blizzard. Reports in April suggested that the company was looking to make the game publishing and development business its own independent entity, but Bloomberg reported on Jul. 2 that Vivendi was now looking for a buyer to drop $8.1 billion for its stake in Activision. Now reports claim that Vivendi is in active talks with a number of buyers including China Internet services player Tencent and, most significantly for gaming enthusiasts, Microsoft in a partnership with Time Warner.

Reuters reported on Sunday that five sources close to Vivendi’s negotiations said that while no formal processes are underway, Vivendi is actively looking for buyers. “It’s nothing official yet, but they’ve asked a bank to go and talk to possible buyers for Activision,” said one source.

Among those buyers are private-equity groups KKR and Blackstone, but the most interesting rumbling is that Time Warner and Microsoft are considering the acquisition.

Time Warner’s video game publishing and development subsidiary Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has had a string of great successes recently, with 2011’s Mortal Kombat and Batman: Arkham City amongst the year’s best-sellers. Titles like those have helped the company grow quarterly earnings to around $3 billion. Activision, fueled by deep revenue wells like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, would make Time Warner an industry leader.

Microsoft meanwhile would benefit in a different way. By purchasing Activision Blizzard, the company would effectively reallocate all of its game development resources into that existing business and free up its Entertainment and Devices division, in charge of the Xbox brand and its associated devices and services, to foster the Xbox as entertainment platform instead of a gaming machine. All signs point to Microsoft’s next machine, the so-called Xbox 720, being less focussed on core gaming experiences like Halo and devoted instead to cable television and other services. By purchasing Activision though, Microsoft would retain prominence in the core gaming business. It would control Blizzard, maker of the fastest-selling PC games in the world like Diablo III, as well as renew its ties with studios like Bungie, who is already hard at work on a multi-game, multi-year project codenamed “Destiny” that figures prominently on the Xbox 720. The 60 percent stake in Activision Blizzard held by Vivendi could give Microsoft a stake in the broader gaming business beyond its own platform, giving it a presence on competitors’ machines.

Tencent meanwhile also stands much to gain from the purchase. The company announced a partnership with Activision on Jul. 3 that will see it release a free-to-play version of Call of Duty in China. Tencent has been spending a great deal on the core gaming market in 2012. In June, it become the first investor in Epic Games when it purchased a minority stake in the Gears of War studio. The company’s a behemoth compared to Activision with a market cap above $51.5 billion to Activision’s $13.1 billion, but does it have the $8 billion plus that Vivendi’s looking for?

Of those three, it would be Microsoft that could potentially have the greatest impact on Activision’s business as it is one of the world’s most prominent game platform holders. It’s not just Xbox, but the Windows operating system and Internet Explorer web browser as well. Activision Blizzard is a pricey investment at this point in time though, and the company’s future is hardly guaranteed given how it’s based in old sales models like physical disc sales (Call of Duty) and monthly fees (World of Warcraft) rather than in growing markets like mobile and social development.

Gaming

More days gone: Sony moves zombie exclusive ‘Days Gone’ to April

Sony has delayed the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone to April. It was previously bumped from a 2018 release window into February, 2019, but Sony Bend apparently needs more time to add polish.
Gaming

Have problems with your Xbox One? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ adds Black Market system to dress up your soldier

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 added the Black Market system to PS4 today, giving players new ways to unlock and acquire additional customization items, such as outfits for Specialists.
Computing

In 2018, the rivalry between AMD and Intel has become more interesting than ever

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.
Product Review

Kill a Nazi while skiing in ’Battlefield V: War Stories’

World War II is hardly a unique setting for a shooter, but Battlefield V’s War Stories has managed to liven it up. Our preview left us eager to see more of the new Battlefield’s single-player story.
Gaming

The best video games to gift this holiday season, from ‘Spider-Man’ to ‘Hitman 2’

The holidays are quickly approaching and you might be looking for ideas on what to get your favorite gamer. Here are the best games you can buy for your gaming loved ones this holiday season.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.