Vivendi, producer of mega-hit World of Warcraft, today announced plans to merge operations with Activision, forming an independent video game behemoth to rival EA. Vivendi will buy 52% of Activision for $1.7 billion and $27.50 per share, the Times reports, a premium on Friday’s $22.15 closing price. Then Activision, re-dubbed Activision Blizzard, will take in all Vivendi’s game operations.
Activision’s CEO said merging was the best way for his company, which focuses on console games like Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk, to jump into the online gaming world Vivendi’s Warcraft dominates. For Vivendi, the deal increases exposure to entertainment’s fastest-growing sector. “Gaming is now a core business for Vivendi,” the CEO told the Wall Steet Journal. (Read more video games stories.)