Vivendi owns 61 per cent of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft mega-publisher Activision Blizzard. It has been trying to sell its stake for months, to no avail. And now, the French telecoms corporation is going for the jugular, by reportedly attempting to force Activision to pay "a sizeable dividend".
The Financial Times
) states that Vivendi is looking for "alternative moves to extract cash" from the games company. In discussions with the publisher, this has apparently led to a tender offer by Activision for part of Vivendi's controlling stake. Which sounds plausible, given that Activision execs have hinted that it might want to buy some of its company back.
But interestingly, the FT also reports that as of tomorrow, "Vivendi gains new powers to force the payment of a sizeable dividend from Activision." At the moment, the French giant must secure support from Activision's individual directors before the games company agrees to pay dividends that brings its net debt above $400m.
"As these rules expire on Tuesday, Vivendi would be able to gear up Activision's balance sheet and force the payout of a special dividend without the approval of independent directors," Reuters
Activision and Vivendi were not available for comment.