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Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) and a group led by Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick agreed to buy most of Vivendi SA (VIV)’s stake in the company, the biggest U.S. video-game publisher, for $8.17 billion. The stock soared.
The accord ends five years of control over Activision by the French media and telecommunications company, and months of uncertainty for the Santa Monica, California-based video-game company as its departing parent sought ways to reduce debt. Activision and Kotick are buying out Vivendi at a 10 percent discount to yesterday’s closing price and said the terms would lead to faster profit growth this year.
“We tried to construct a transaction that rewarded our public shareholders and this structure accomplishes that,” Kotick said in a telephone interview. His group will own 25 percent of the company, according to the statement.
Activision soared to an almost five-year high, gaining 13 percent to $17.21 at 12:10 p.m. in New York after reaching $17.76. As of yesterday, the stock had risen 43 percent this year, giving the company a market value of $17 billion. Vivendi added 0.6 percent to 16.07 euros in Paris. Tencent climbed 3.9 percent to HK$347.40 in Hong Kong. Read More
Huawei on Tuesday unveiled its new super-slim Ascend P6 smartphone, though it is currently only scheduled to be released in China and Western Europe.
Huawei said the 4.7-inch P6 is the “world’s slimmest smartphone,” measuring at just 6.18mm. For comparison, the similarly sized LG Optimus L9comes in at 9.1mm while the HTC One is 9.3mm. It slimmed down thanks in part to an LCD in-cell display, which merges the touch and display circuitry layers.
That display, however, is boosted by “MagicTouch,” which provides enhanced screen responsiveness when you’re wearing gloves.
The Ascend P6, housed in a metallic body, will run Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, as well as a 1.5-GHz quad-core processor.
There’s a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, which Huawei said is “perfect for selfies.” On the back, the P6 features an 8-megapixel camera that also supports 1080p full HD video recording and playback.
“With Huawei’s proprietary IMAGESmart software, the Huawei Ascend P6 turns even the most novice photographer into a professional, with contrast and color enhancement, auto scene recognition, object tracing focus, and instant facial beauty support,” the company said.
New to Huawei’s Emotion UI, meanwhile, are panoramic shooting options and facial recognition. With AirSharing, the device can also be connected to other devices to share documents or connect for gaming.
Huawei also promised battery performance that is 30 percent better than batteries on similar smartphones.
The Ascend P6 will come in black, white, and pink with a matching color case. It will debut in China this month and expand to Western Europe next month, where it will be sold via Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, H3G, O2, Carphone Warehouse, TalkTalk, Media Markt & Saturn, TIM and online via Amazon and CDiscount.
The holidays are undoubtedly one of the most aggressive times of the year for game retailers, with multiple consoles competing for a place in your living room. This year is perhaps going to be one of the most aggressive, especially with the Nintendo Wii U hitting the market in November and rumors surrounding Microsoft and Sony’s next consoles circulating. Along with the anticipated holiday bundles, both Nintendo and Microsoft have announced price cuts for their respective consoles. While the Wii andXbox 360 are pushing 6 and 7 years respectively, the price cuts are an effort to ship more units of the ageing hardware. Any sort of a price reduction is welcome, but you’ll still notice a huge contrast in prices between the two systems.
For Nintendo’s part, they are bundling together a black Wii system and two games, Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, which will be packaged on one disc. The price reduction is $129.99 US, which is $20 less than most retailers are currently selling the system for. The value of this new bundle will depend on how much you enjoy the Wii Sports titles, as this will now be the default pack-in game for the console. The previous bundle retailed for $149.99 and included New Super Mario Bros Wii, which on its own still retails for $60. In that respect, the price drop is not as grand as it might initially seem. Having said that, you would be hard pressed to argue that the Wii is still the more affordable system when compared to its competition. Read More
Vivendi SA VIV.FR -1.23% is working with two investment banks to explore the sale of videogame giant Activision Blizzard Inc., ATVI -0.25% in which the French conglomerate owns a majority stake, people familiar with the matter said.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays BARC.LN +0.82% PLC are helping Paris-based Vivendi assess its options around Activision Blizzard, which has a market capitalization of about $13.4 billion. Vivendi owns a 61% stake through a 2008 merger of its gaming unit, Blizzard Entertainment, with Activision.
Attendees visiting the Activision Blizzard display at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles last month.
Vivendi is focused on finding a buyer for the Santa Monica, Calif.-based maker of popular games such as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” and bankers have reached out to a range of suitors, including other gaming companies and private-equity firms, the people said. Read More
On Monday, motion recognition company Leap Motion emerged from stealth mode, prepared to offer a cheap motion-sensing peripheral into a market that should, by rights, be dominated by Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral.
Coincidentally, Microsoft on Monday also released the Kinect for Windows 1.5, designed to woo developers with improved skeletal tracking as well as Kinect Studio, a tool that will let developers record how users use the Kinect peripheral.
Leap, meanwhile, demonstrated its $69.99 USB peripheral running on a Mac monitor, perhaps a subtle message that it might be for the Mac what Kinect might eventually end with on the PC.
In a blog designed to lure developers, Leap described its peripheral as a “revolutionary piece of hardware no larger than your iPod that’s two hundred times more accurate than any product currently on the market,” the company said. “We believe that with The Leap, tomorrow we will no longer be tethered to hardware. With The Leap, imaginations will run wild, and possibilities will be endless. Cheesy marketing speak, you say? Perhaps. But at Leap Motion, we believe strongly and passionately that software can change the world. We believe you shouldn’t have to break the bank to make powerful software using powerful technology. We believe in possibility. And we cannot wait to see what the future will bring to the world of natural user interface and gesture control.”
Leap claims its technology is accurate down to a 1/100th of a millimeter, tracking movement through 8 cubic feet, according to the company. The device is sensitive enough to determine the presence of fingers and hands, as well as handheld objects such as a pencil. A demonstration video, embedded below, shows that the Leap can be used from anything from navigating maps to even playing first-person shooter games. Read More