French media conglomerate Vivendi SA will hold talks today regarding plans to extract a $3 billion special dividend from publisher Activision Blizzard, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The result would see Vivendi yielding $2 billion from its Activision Blizzard subsidiary of which it owns a 60 percent stake in; however, according to WSJ, sources familiar with the matter claim that Activision would be forced to raise debt in order to meet this amount. Over half of Activision's funds are reportedly being kept in offshore accounts and would suffer U.S. repatriation tax if it were used for the dividend.
This follows an attempt by Vivendi earlier last year to sell its stake in the publisher amidst a move to restructure and boost its stock price after a nine-year low. Last summer the company teamed up with two investment banks to help in brokering the sale of its majority stake in the publisher, currently worth $8.1 billion.
Activision was previously rumored to be interested in buying out part of Vivendi's current stake. During a conference call in May, Vivendi CFO Philippe Capron said: "The board continues to review a variety of different options, looking at ways to optimize the balance sheet. There is a process going at the board level."
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