SAN FRANCISCO – Vivendi SA is selling most of its majority stake in Activision Blizzard Inc. for $8.2 billion, giving the video game company back its independence as the French conglomerate tries to strengthen its balance sheet.
Vivendi said Friday that 429 million of its shares will be sold to Activision itself for $5.83 billion, or $13.60 per share. Another 172 million shares will be sold for $2.34 billion to a consortium of investors including Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, who are contributing $100 million each.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision makes games such as “World of Warcraft” and the wildly popular “Call of Duty” series. Vivendi acquired a majority stake in Activision in 2008 and combined it with its games unit, which included “Warcraft” publisher Blizzard Entertainment, so Activision will walk away a bigger company.
Fracking pioneer Mitchell, 94, dies
HOUSTON – Billionaire Texas oilman, developer and philanthropist George P. Mitchell, 94, has died at his home in Galveston.
Mitchell was the son of Greek immigrants and became one of the wealthiest men in the U.S. He’s considered the father of hydraulic fracking to recover natural gas from shale deposits, pioneering the now common process that’s led to an energy boom.
Mitchell’s family announced his death Friday on the family foundation website.
His wife, Cynthia, died in 2009.
Feds, Barix Clinics settle bias lawsuit
YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Justice Department says it has reached a settlement with Barix Clinics that resolves allegations the bariatric treatment facility operator discriminated against two men because they have HIV.
In a statement Friday, the DOJ says one patient had his weight-loss procedure canceled at a Barix Clinics facility in Ypsilanti, Mich., while the other was denied the surgery at a clinic in Langhorne, Pa.
As part of the settlement, Barix Clinics must pay $20,000 to the Pennsylvania patient, $15,000 to the Michigan man and a $10,000 civil penalty. The company also must train its staff on the Americans with Disabilities Act and develop an anti-discrimination policy.
Weyerhaeuser’s 2Q income soars
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Lumber company Weyerhaeuser Co. said Friday that its second-quarter net income more than doubled as it benefited from an improving housing market, which drove up demand for lumber and other wood products.
But the company’s shares fell after it predicted a smaller third-quarter profit in its biggest segment, wood products, because of rising expenses and lower selling prices for some products.
The company earned $196 million, or 35 cents per share. That was up from $84 million, or 16 cents per share, during the same period last year. Revenue rose 19 percent to $2.14 billion, from $1.79 billion a year earlier.
Earnings from its largest segment, wood products, more than tripled to $136 million.