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‘Call Of Duty: Ghosts’ Tops $1B On First Day, Says Activision Blizzard

By | Wednesday November 6, 2013 @ 11:54am PST

One day after the latest installment in the Call Of Duty franchise was released, Activision Blizzard announced today that the first-person shooter video game has surpassed $1 billion in global sell-in sales. Impressive as that may sound, it’s not a record yet, and it hasn’t taken out Grand Theft Auto V either. Unlike last year’s Call Of Duty: Black Ops II, which sold $500M on its first day last November, the $1 billion represents the copies shipped to retailers not actual point-of-purchase sales — Activision Blizzard hasn’t released that figure yet. Previously the fastest-selling video game ever, Back Ops II was thrashed by Grand Theft Auto V when the Take Two Interactive game hit $800 million in sales in one day after its September 17 release. Leaping ahead of the box office of Hollywood blockbusters Man Of Steel and Despicable Me 2, GTA V topped $1 billion in a record making three days whereas it took Black Ops II just over two weeks to get to that number back in fall 2012. The 10thgame in the franchise, the dystopian story of Call Of Duty: Ghosts was put together in part by Oscar-wining scribe Stephen Gaghan, who worked on the multi-level story. Unlike GTA V, which was initially available on just PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Ghosts debuted on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U and Windows PC. The game is also set to … Read More »

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Activision Blizzard Shares Popping After $8B-Plus Deal To Split From Vivendi

By | Friday July 26, 2013 @ 9:38am PDT

The current 14% gain for Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard so far in Nasdaq trading today comes hours after parent company Vivendi announced a $8.17 billion deal to sell back the majority of the video game giant to a group that includes Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. That ends the French company’s five-year hold on the vidgame biz’s biggest company — among Blizzard’s titles are the uber-popular Call Of Duty and World Of Warcraft franchises — and is fueling speculation that Vivendi will continue to pare down assets and rebuild itself as a media and content company. Proceeds from today’s deal are being used to cut Vivendi’s more than $17 billion in debt and rebuild it around Universal Music Group and pay-TV provider Canal Plus. Vivendi brass says such a split-up could include French mobile phone company SFR, which is Vivendi’s largest unit. Bloomberg reports that following the Activision Blizzard deal to make it an independent company that Vivendi’s remaining assets — UMG, Canal Plus and Brazilian broadband provider GVT — accounted for about 40% of the Paris-based conglom’s 2012 revenue.

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Nickelodeon Taps Activision To Produce SpongeBob SquarePants Video Games

By | Thursday July 25, 2013 @ 8:21am PDT

NEW YORK, July 25, 2013 — Nickelodeon and Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), today announced a new global, multi-year agreement to develop and publish video games featuring pop culture phenomenon SpongeBob SquarePants. The first game to be published in the new partnership will be SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge, an all-new action-adventure video game set to be released on Oct. 22 for the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Nintendo Wii™ and Wii U™ systems, and the Nintendo DS™ and 3DS™ handheld systems.

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Nickelodeon Signs With Activision To Develop ‘Ninja Turtles’ Video Games

This is worth noting considering how important Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is to the turnaround story at Nickelodeon, and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s eagerness to accelerate sales of consumer products based on his company’s properties. The partners describe their new agreement as a “worldwide, multi-year deal” giving Activision Blizzard rights to “develop and publish video games inspired by the new CG-animated series.” No word on the deal’s financial terms. “The fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are unique in that they span generations and are very passionate,” Activision VP Kurt Niederloh says. “We respect this passion and look forward to working with Nickelodeon to create games that embody the spirit of the property.” Last week, Dauman told analysts that Viacom is “seeing ongoing strength from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both on air and at retail, where sell-through rates of most products approached 100%” in the last three months of 2012.

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Blockbuster Sales For ‘Call Of Duty’ Power Activision Blizzard Shares

By | Friday November 16, 2012 @ 1:56pm PST

The company says it has “the biggest entertainment launch of the year” after its new combat video game, Call Of Duty: Black Ops II, generated $500M in worldwide sales in the first 24 hours after it was released. This is the fourth consecutive year that the producer of the game, Activision Blizzard, says its franchise has set the entertainment record. ”Live-to-date sales for the Call Of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for Harry Potter and Star Wars, the two most successful movie franchises of all time,” CEO Bobby Kotick says. The news contributed to a 4.7% jump today in Activision’s stock, although it’s still down 10% over the last 12 months. The CEO says that “given the challenged macro-economic environment, we remain cautious about the balance of 2012 and 2013.” The game is available for Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 consoles, and Windows PCs. Next week it should be available to Nintendo’s Wii U users. In addition to the game sales, Activision says that the live-action ‘Surprise’ launch trailer for the game has attracted more than 30M views on YouTube since October 29.

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Vivendi Appoints Executives In Strategic Review Of Media And Telecoms Businesses

By | Tuesday August 21, 2012 @ 1:55am PDT

French media conglomerate Vivendi is stepping up a strategic review of its businesses as it decides whether to sell or spin off some of its assets. Chairman Jean-René Fourtou has appointed executives to help reassess the company’s structure including Canal Plus chairman Bertrand Meheut, who will conduct a study on the development of media and content. Along with leading French pay-TV Canal Plus, Vivendi owns the Universal Music Group and a controlling stake in game maker Activision Blizzard. Jean-Yves Charlier, formerly the CEO of interactive education developer Promethean and a longtime telecom exec, will leave Vivendi’s supervisory board to join the company as senior exec VP in charge of telecoms activities. He will be involved in a strategic review of the company’s SFR, GVT and Maroc Telecom businesses. Vivendi is consulting with bankers on ways to raise money from such assets as Activision and GVT, according to The Financial Times, but it could also split its media and telecoms groups into two distinct companies. Similar to News Corp prior its decision to divide into two entities, Vivendi has met with investor criticism over what’s known as the conglomerate discount – the difference between what a company’s holdings are worth and the real value the market places on the whole. In June, longtime Vivendi CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy, left the company following calls for him to address the media giant’s … Read More »

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Call of Duty: MW3 Rakes In $775M In 5 Days

By | Thursday November 17, 2011 @ 10:55pm PST

Activision’s first-person shooter multiplayer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has grossed more than $775 million in its first five days of sales, the company reported Wednesday. In just its first day on the market, Activision sold more than 6.5 million units in North America and the United Kingdom for an estimated sell-through rate of more than $400 million.  Activision claimed the new edition in its debut — for about $60 a pop — has surpassed the openings of all movies, books and videogames. It even surpassed last year’s release of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which grossed $650 million, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which sold $550 million. Activision Blizzard’s CEO Bobby Kotick boasted to AllThingsD that the Call of Duty franchise is one of the most valuable entertainment properties worldwide, having exceeded $6 billion in lifetime revenue.

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Lucian Grainge Now Chairman & CEO Of Universal Music Group

By | Wednesday March 9, 2011 @ 11:50am PST

Vivendi announced today that the current CEO of UMG will add chairman to his title at the world’s biggest music company, which has operations in 77 countries. He will remain on Vivendi’s board of directors and was added to the board at the French conglomerate’s vidgame publisher Activision Blizzard, which is based in Santa Monica. The move comes on the heels of Sony Music last week hiring Doug Morris as its CEO.

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Camp Allen: What A Showbiz Snorefest!

campallen.JPGHollywood is jetting to the annual Allen & Co investment conference in Sun Valley starting today. I’ve just been emailed the in-room schedule by a participant, and this year showbiz is back in favor because of an “Entertainment Panel” consisting of Barry Diller, Peter Chernin, Jeff Katzenberg, and Bobby Kotick (the CEO/president of Activision Blizzard for those who are joystick challenged). Ken Auletta, the CEO pornmeister, moderates. No Friday night dildos. No sandwich boards for out-of-work moguls. Gawd, Camp Allen has become such a showbiz snorefest. Just look at the sked:

Also Wednesday:
– “Women In Technology” – Tom Brokaw moderating, with panelists: Ursula Burns and Anne Mulcahy from Xerox and Sheryl Sandberg for Facebook.

Thursday:
– “Modern Europe” – Tom Friedman moderating, with panelists: Lionel Barber from the Financial Times, Mathias Döpfner, and Niall FitzGerald from Thompson Reuters, Jean-Bernard Lévy from Vivendi
– “Social Internet’ – Erin Burnett of CNBC moderating with panelists: Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman and Mark Zuckerberg.
– Lunchtime Panel – “Understanding The Brain”

Friday:
– “Global Risk” – David Ignatius moderating, with panelists consisting of military dudes.
– “The Business of Running a City” — Charlie Rose moderating with panelists: Mike Bloomberg, Cory Booker, and Richard Daley.

Saturday:
– “The New Breed Of Companies” featuring Square, Pandora, thinged and groupon.
– Untitled Panel moderated by Anderson Cooper with panelists: Warren Buffet, and Melinda and Bill Gates.

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