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Activision merges with Vivendi Games

Deal will create largest independent games publisher

Activision has announced that it will merge with the games division of French conglomerate Vivendi, in a deal worth $18.9 billion.

Vivendi Games, which includes World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard, will be merged with Activision to create Activision Blizzard. The new company will be the largest independent video games publisher in the world.

Activision Blizzard will be headed up by Robert Kotick, currently chairman and CEO of Activision.

The merger will combine Blizzard's expertise in online, subscription based gaming, primarily on the PC platform, with Activision's strength in console franchises such as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and Tony Hawk's skateboarding titles.

"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," said Kotick in a statement. 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."

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