With the new deal between Supercell, GungHo Online, and Soft Bank, the video game sector has surpassed $5 billion dollars related to mergers and acquisitions in 2013. This is according to data from Digi-Capital, who notes that much of the investment comes from investors in Korea, China, and Japan. Some of the deals contributing to the $5.2 billion number including the 51 percent stake taken by Soft Bank and GungHo's in mobile and social game developer Supercell and Ourpalm's recent acquisitions of China's Playcrab and Shanggames.
Softbank and GungHo Online are making a substantial investment in Finnish free-to-play and mobile gaming juggernaut Supercell. The company is selling a 51 percent stake for $1.53 billion to Japan’s SoftBank and game developer GungHo Online Entertainment. The strategic investment will make Supercell a subsidiary of Softbank, with the funds being used to fuel Supercell’s global expansion.
Ubisoft has changed the release window for three titles today. First, the good news: Ubisoft announced that Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will launch globally on October 29 for Wii U, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, an improvement on its previous target date of Nov. 1 in Europe and Oct. 31 release in Australia. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will still get the game at launch on Nov. 15 (Nov. 29 in Europe) and Nov. 22 in Australia. The PC version of the game was originally scheduled to release alongside the current-gen versions, but was pushed back to the next-gen release.
Activision Blizzard has closed a deal to buy back shares from France-based conglomerate Vivendi a day after a Delaware Supreme Court judge lifted an injunction on the plan put on the deal by a lower court judge in response to several shareholder lawsuits.
With the deal complete Activision Blizzard now has a controlling interest in itself. Activision Blizzard now owns $5.83 billion of stock, with CEO Bobby Kotick and his partners owning $2.34 billion. Vivendi's stake has been reduced significantly to 12 percent.
The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously reversed a lower court ruling that put a temporary injunction on Activision Blizzard‘s plan to buy back most of Vivendi’s stake in the video game maker for $8.2 billion.
With the injunction lifted, Activision Blizzard can move forward with the plan. In a hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for Activision Blizzard argued that the provision was inapplicable, since it applied only to a merger, while the company’s plan was a stock repurchase.
Nintendo expects sales of more than 5 million of its 3DS handheld console units in Japan this year, according to this Bloomberg report. Speaking at a Capcom event today in Tokyo, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata also said that the company sold more than 5.5 million units of its 3DS last year. Nintendo expects global 3DS sales of around 18 million this fiscal year, up from 13.95 million last year.
In a memo sent to employees today, Big Fish Games CEO Paul Thelen announced that the company is laying off 49 employees in its Seattle office and shutting down its office in Vancouver. Projects in the Vancouver office would be moved to Seattle.
In an email sent to Zynga staff and published on the company's official blog, CEO Don Mattrick revealed that three more executives have left the social game maker for greener pastures. The three departing executives are Cadir Lee, Colleen McCreary, and David Ko, who are leaving the company "to pursue other interests," according to Mattrick.
Seth and Timothy Peterson have come up with an interesting business idea for California: an arcade game rental service that charges a monthly fee to get classic arcade game cabinets in the hands of classic arcade gaming aficionados. The San Francisco-based company is called "All You Can Arcade," and lets customers rent such arcade classics as Tron, Ms. Pac Man, and Donkey Kong for $75 a month. The brothers launched the service last month.
On the same day that Trion Worlds, makers of the Defiance MMO, announced that Scott Hartsman was the new CEO, it shut down its San Diego office. The lion's share of the work being done at the San Diego office was related to Defiance. Trion Worlds confirmed the shutdown of the studio and that development on Defiance would be moved to its Redwood City office.
The Sony board has rejected a proposal by Third Point LLC CEO Daniel Loeb - one of Sony's largest investors - that would have spun off 20 percent of its entertainment divisions into a separate entity. The board's rejection of the idea was unanimous. A letter to Third Point from Sony expressed that the company sees value in owning entertainment content in this connected, digital age. Sony also told Third Point in its letter that maintaining total ownership of its divisions encourages "internal collaboration and efficiency."
Social game giant Zynga will close OMGPOP.com despite the fact that the original team behind it offered to buy the games portal in hopes of retaining its userbase and content. According to Eurogamer, several former OMGPOP staff members offered Zynga an undisclosed amount of money in order to keep it open, but Zynga rebuffed those offers.
Sega is one of twenty companies interested in buying out Atlus from Japanese parent company Index Holdings, according to a Blomberg Japan report (by way of CVG). Index Holdings purchased Atlus in 2006, but last month was forced to file for bankruptcy in the Tokyo District Court for over millions of dollars in debts it faced.
Activision Blizzard shareholder Todd Miller filed a derivative lawsuit on Thursday against the company and other parties associated with an $8.17 billion deal to buy back a controlling interest from major stakeholder Vivendi. In his lawsuit filed in Superior Court, Miller claims that the deal to buy back stock from Vivendi gives "insiders" a windfall of more than $600 million on the discounted sale of stock from Vivendi, while Activision Blizzard shareholders get no enrichment from the deal.
Laurie White (president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce) and Michael Sabitoni (president of the Rhode Island Construction and Building Trades Council) teamed up to pen an op-ed in the Providence Journal to warn lawmakers and the public that what happened with 38 Studios should not cast aspersions of future state investments into other industries.
Three more executives have left Zynga this month, according to a GII report. The latest executives to exit stage left include Jesse Janosov, Vice President of casino gaming; and John Osvald and Nathan Etter - who are both Vice Presidents in the games division.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward S. Williams says that Activision Blizzard's plan to buy back its shares from Vivendi is a good thing and has reiterated his firm's rating of "outperform." Last night Activision Blizzard announced that - with its own cash on hand and investments from outside sources - it would buy back a total of 601 million shares from Vivendi to the tune of $8.2 billion.
Activision Blizzard announced that it will purchase approximately 601 million shares from Vivendi to the tune of $8.2 billion with the help of outside investments. There had been some talk that Vivendi would force Activision into giving Vivendi a special dividend of $2 - $3 billion to raise funds for paying down debt. Vivendi currently holds a controlling stake in the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publishers, but this plan would make Activision an independent entity again.
Warner Bros. has secured the rights to publish CD Projekt Red's next game in The Witcher series in North America. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will distribute and promote The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in North America. We assume this includes all versions of the game except on digital distribution platforms such as Steam and Good Old Games.
Financial analyst Edward Williams from BMO Capital Markets send out a research note this morning telling investors that EA's mostly flat revenue for the latest quarter was good enough to earn the company a positive rating from the firm. Yesterday EA reported non-GAAP revenues of $495 million and a non-GAAP EPS loss of $0.40, respectively. This compares to $491 million in revenues and a loss of $0.41 last year. BMO expected $451 million in revenue and a loss of $0.61, while consensus estimates were $454 million and a loss of $0.60.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Vivendi may force Activision Blizzard to pay a special dividend that would give the company $2 - $3 billion to help it pay down some of its debt. The company's board will discuss the move at a regular meeting on Monday and may seek Activison's board members to approve it at a meeting later this week, WSJ claims in its report. Since six of eleven Activision board members are from the Vivendi group or its units such a vote would likely be approved.
THQ as a company will soon be gone. For all intents and purposes THQ has been dead for several months, but this week a U.S. bankruptcy court approved liquidation plans. Earlier this year THQ sold off assets including intellectual property and studios from its massive studio system. U.S. bankruptcy court judge Mary F. Walrath officially ended the company's bankruptcy case this week, by approving the company's plans to liquidate and pay creditors the cash that remained.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer detailed a sweeping restructuring plan in an internal email to employees. In the memo Ballmer said that Microsoft will be organized by function within four groups: OS, Apps, Cloud and Devices.