Activision shareholders approve Vivendi deal

Two women play the new video game "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" before the game release press conference in New York, June 27, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Activision Inc ATVI.O shareholders approved a deal on Tuesday to merge with French telecommunications and media group Vivendi SA's VIV.PA games unit, creating a public company called Activision Blizzard.

Activision said 92 percent of shares voted were in favor of the merger, which is expected to close on July 9 .

The deal gives Vivendi, creator of "World of Warcraft," a 52 percent ownership stake in the new company that would have annual revenue of $3.8 billion and more heft to take on Electronic Arts Inc ERTS.O, the world's biggest independent game publisher.

The deal was announced in December, but needed regulatory and shareholder approval before it was finalized. The transaction was approved by the European Commission in April.

The deal will place pressure on Redwood City, California- based Electronic Arts, which bid $2 billion in June to take over Take-Two Interactive Software Inc TTWO.O, publisher of the "Grand Theft Auto" series. Take-Two subsequently rejected the offer, saying it was too low.

Activision has said the deal with Vivendi will result in a strong financial showing in 2009. The company has already reaped success from its “Guitar Hero” and “Call of Duty” series.

Activision shares were down 55 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $31.46 in late trading on the Nasdaq. The stock is up about 6 percent so far this year, boosted by its top-selling “Guitar Hero” games.

Reporting by Jennifer Martinez and Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Andre Grenon