In a shock move, the publisher of World of Warcraft, Vivendi has merged with Activision, creating the world’s biggest publisher, Activision Blizzard, worth an estimated $18.9billion.
The new company, which dethrones the EA as the largest games publisher, will be ‘the world’s largest pure-play online and console game publisher’ according to a statement.
Key to the move is access to Blizzard and its MMO, World of Warcraft, giving Activision access to the hugely lucrative online gaming business.
In addition to PC blockbusters World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo, the deal brings with it a raft of major console IPs. It is these IPs that the company will be relying on, with it stating it expects around 70 per cent of its revenues to come from.
Speaking about the deal, Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman of the management board and CEO of Vivendi stated: "This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector.
By combining Vivendi’s games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry. We are excited about the opportunities for Activision Blizzard as a broader entertainment software platform."
Robert Kotick, Activision’s chairman and CEO added: "This is an outstanding transaction for Activision and our stockholders, as well as a pivotal event in the continuing transformation of the interactive entertainment industry.
"By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences."