Vivendi proves it’s the greediest company in gaming 
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Gavin Mannion
July 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

capitalism

Vivendi has been trying to offload the ludicrously profitable Activision Blizzard for some time now but it just doesn’t look like anyone has enough cash to pick up the cash cow and now Vivendi is planning some creative accounting to simply suck all the cash out of the company.

Now I’m no economical genius and I recently found out from a corporate governance guy that a company with a large bank balance is negatively viewed as it appears that they have no ambition and are not progressing. And a company with a large income and a massive debt is a good thing as it shows they are using their money… so yeah that makes absolutely no sense what so ever in my opinion.

But Vivendi believes this mantra and even though Activision in incredibly profitable and stable they are also sitting on a massive cash pile and that makes them look bad. It also makes Vivendi drool as they want that cash so they can invest it in something else.

According to Financial Times, via vg247,

“the publication claims Vivendi and Activision Blizzard have discussed having the latter company extend a tender offer partially covering Vivendi’s stake, funded by its available cash or a debt offering”

Say what?

What that means to me and you is that Vivendi are going to score $400 million from Activision and put Activision in a less comfortable position. Meaning more DLC, micro transactions and milking of the consumer. So next time you want to target your anger at Activision for being evil… just remember who the real puppet master is here.

I'm cranky, arrogant and ever so amazingly annoying but when you get to know me you will also realise I'm honest and incredibly good at describing myself... now pass me that beer

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    Hold the phone, so because I’ve got debt, I’m actually doing well?

    Damn, glass half full it seems :)

    • Hammersteyn

      Well if you have a mortgage these days you are one of the fortunate ones.

      • RinceWind

        Pah, I’ll be renting till the day I die…

        • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

          Don’t say that dude.

          • RinceWind

            *Steps back from window ledge “You don’t know me!” lol

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          Rent money is dead money. Just remember that

          • RinceWind

            Agreed. I used to own my own flat (well, DADDY bought it) but I took a ‘going to live in China’ to the everything.

    • RinceWind

      If that is the case I’m flipping loaded! And not just on this bottle of whiskey I found under my desk 0-o

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      Well yes, you need a credit rating to get any form of loans. Not piles of cash. So you need to be in debt to be able to incur debt

      • RinceWind

        And that is how the housing market destroys worlds… Not Lord Zorg!

    • GTO

      I have no debt, I am not trying hard enough obviously.

      • Andre116

        Yeah…you seem like a total failure in life. :)

        • RinceWind

          Haha! I got my Xcom on last night.. Soon…

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    Tar? Check.
    Feathers? Check.
    Correct target? DoubleTriple Check

    • Lardus

      I prefer “shotgun” targeting when it comes to these greedy corporate people! Get them all I say!

  • Trevor Davies

    Investors want their pound of flesh. If cash is just sitting there unused, then they want it.

  • Danny Baromen

    Hmmmm, Vivendi taking tips from EA…

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    So BASICALLY…..We have given them SOOO much money from CoD, WoW that they are taking it all fro themselves. Then they will cut the budgets Activision/Blizzard so they can charge us more money.
    In other words. F#&% the consumer, we want MOAR money!
    Next time I see an article about the gaming industry in trouble I will ignore it completely.

    • RinceWind

      Don;t let Cliffy B hear you saying this man. The industry is in dire need of help from us, the secondhand market is KILLING legit developers/publishers/Gods like ol Cliffy!

      • Ultimo_Cleric N7

        Hahaha! The second hand market…Ya thats it. Cant be the lack of creativity/ greed of the big corps at all.

        • RinceWind

          You take that back! Those poor people can only afford one Lamborghini because of your secondhand tactics! Shame! SHAME!

          • Ultimo_Cleric N7

            I was going to care about that, but then I carried on with my life.

          • http://www.lazygamer.co Gavin Mannion

            He’s got two

          • RinceWind

            Indeed, was talking about myself ;)

  • Tarisma

    Yay for accountants and potential deferred losses!

    • Weanerdog

      Accountants rock with mark-to-market and financing your company off balance sheet you to can make millions from selling air sorry I mean energy.

  • Skyblue

    It’s actually a very accurate assessment of how the financial world works (spelled “fucked up”). As a small business owner who had substantial cash flow but zero debt I had a difficult time with my bank securing finance for expansion but once I incurred the debt it just got easier and easier to incur more debt.

    • Brady miaau

      Yip, the way the world works

  • Weanerdog

    What is actually happening is that Vivendi wants cash to do whatever it wants to do. It has tried to sell its stake in Activision but could not. It could not get a board to give them the money as a dividend, so now it is trying to have Activision buy back some of its shares with the cash or through funding, as far as I understand. It will be at a premium of the price.

    Edit: apparently that from tomorrow Vivendi will be able to force Activision to pay dividends.

  • Magius

    In a company cash sitting in an account is not earning a return beyond whatever rate of interest they can get at their bank(s). shareholders would like to see them reinvesting that money or returning it to shareholders to share buybacks or dividends. From your article it seems that Vivendi are going to borrow that money from Activision to reinvest in Vivendi instigated investments. Actually quite normal in most companies and groups.

  • Verrayne

    Okay, so the 3% interest that ActiBliz is getting is no where near the return they could get if they pumped that money into a new game and had for instance a 30% return. So you would turn $20 million into $26 million with one little investment. Keeping that money in the bank would make your $20 million, $20.6 million. See the difference. Now most games make much more than 30%.

    As for what Vivendi is doing, it’s a majority shareholder in ActiBliz and it’s forcing the company to buy it out. Actibliz will use most of it’s cash reserves and some debt to facilitate this transaction. It’s nothing new really much more straightforward than some of the transactions that I’ve encountered.

    Note: I’m an Economist.

    P.S. as for the more debt you have vs cash. You have to take into account Leverage and Gearing. Take too much debt on and you are too risky. Too little and there is no innovation.

    See it this way, want to buy a house cash with your salary? It will take 15 years of saving. Buy it with debt, you will get it now pay it off 20 years later. So in effect you are paying for 5 years of debt. Factor that into the use of the house for 15 years and it makes much more sense to buy it with debt than to save the cash.

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