UPDATE 1-Activision says U.S. court stops $8.2 bln deal with Vivendi

Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:55pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - A U.S. court has handed down a preliminary decision to halt the closing of Vivendi SA's $8.2 billion deal to sell most of its stake in Activision Blizzard Inc back to the U.S. company, the games publisher said on Wednesday.

Last week, an Activision shareholder had filed a lawsuit against both parties, seeking an injunction to the deal. The company said the Delaware Chancery court had issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily put a hold on the closing of the transaction.

"Activision Blizzard remains committed to the transaction and is exploring the steps it will take to complete the transaction as expeditiously as possible," the publisher said in a statement.

Vivendi announced in July that it had agreed to sell most of its stake in the publisher of the blockbuster "Call of Duty" franchise for $8.2 billion, paving the way for a broader split of the French conglomerate's media and telecoms assets.

Activision said it would buy back 429 million shares from Vivendi for $5.83 billion. As part of the terms, an investor group led by its chief executive Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly will separately purchase about 172 million Activision shares from Vivendi for $2.34 billion.

The consortium, which will own 24.9 percent of Activision, includes Davis Advisors, Leonard Green & Partners, Chinese web portal Tencent, and investment fund Fidelity Investments.

The shareholder sued the company, Vivendi and the investor group and claimed that the deal should not be completed as it was not subject to a majority vote of Activision's stockholders, excluding majority owner Vivendi and its affiliates.

The court granted the plaintiff a temporary injunction on the closure of the deal, unless its order is modified on appeal or the transaction is approved by a vote by Activision's shareholders, the company said.

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