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Activision: What Recession? We Want to Buy!

Many investors will admit that a good time to buy is when the prices are lower than low, yet those words of wisdom doesn't seem legitimate during current economical conditions. Apparently, Activision Blizzard's wallet doesn't agree.

The market can be tricky: invest in something while the prices are currently low, and hope it will increase in value when the economy begins to climb back out of its current dismal hole of depression. If the investment tanks, then so does the initial investment. With that said, it's hard to imagine Activision Blizzard shelling out money for new properties even though the company is currently the largest gaming publisher on the planet.

But with $3 billion in cash burning a hole in its pocket and no debt to speak of, the company is definitely considering acquisitions while the prices are down to the ground. Buying new intellectual property licensing rights would certainly open doors for the company, especially those that would eventually fill holes in Activision Blizzard's overall portfolio... which the company is looking to do as well Activision Blizzard already started the process with two upcoming games: Singularity, DJ Hero and an unnamed racing title.

“The combination of Activision holding a fair amount of cash and presumably prices being depressed, not only for publicly traded companies, but also likely for new intellectual property licensing rights, should certainly create opportunities,” admitted Activision president and CEO Mike Griffith in his interview with Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, Activision rose 20 cents (2 percent) to $10.07 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading as of Wednesday; its shares have gained 17 percent this year alone. Although sitting pretty with mammoth franchises under its belt including Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and the uber-popular MMORPG World of Warcraft, it's interesting to speculate what and whom Activision is likely to assimilate next. With Midway Games ready to throw the mortal Kombat franchise on the chopping block, the infamous fighting IP would certainly fill a void in Activision's portfolio.

"We won’t rush to judgment just because we have cash," says Griffith. "We will be very disciplined."

Although Activision Blizzard is sitting on piles of cash and looking for new blood, the company certainly isn't hording IPs. In fact, by the end of 2008, the company purged many of its Sierra-branded franchises including Ghostbusters, Brutal Legend and even 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. With that said, the company isn't looking for just any IP to fill the gaps, but those with high potential.

On another note, Activision Blizzard today announced that Thomas Tippl, CFO of Activision Blizzard, Inc, will be presenting at the 7th Annual Wedbush Morgan Securities New York MAC: Management Access Conference on Wednesday, March 11th at 8:00 a.m. (ET) at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel. Those interested can listen to the broadcast here.

  • captaincharisma
    i say maybe try to get Eidos or get the Mortal Kombat license Midway is selling
  • Harby
    Meh, MK is dead. In general nowadays its all about FPS/MMO/RTS. I SO miss nineties platformers and adventure games.
  • Blessedman
    Yeah I would love a great old school, modernized side scroller. Even another great Mario64 style game, anything to break this mold of CoD20+/WoW model of gaming.
  • chris312
    Many investors will admit that a good time to buy is when the prices are lower than low, yet those words of wisdom doesn't seem legitimate during current economical conditions.

    That's why you write for a tech site, not an investment site. In addition to several flagrant grammar errors, your premise that purchasing licensing rights is somehow a worse idea during a bear market than during a boom is outright fallacious. It's freaking on sale right now. If you've got the cash and no debt, now is an EXCELLENT time to make such an investment. Please, Kevin, a news article is no place for your personal opinion. Just give us the facts, please.
  • The Schnoz
    HarbyMeh, MK is dead. In general nowadays its all about FPS/MMO/RTS. I SO miss nineties platformers and adventure games.
    FPS/MMORTS games is pretty much all Activision has at the moment. Perhaps thats why they're so successful, but I think they're looking to expand. I think Street Fighter IV will bring back the fighting game genre. Tekken will also do well. If Mortal Kombat was done right and had proper marketing it could be successful again. I like MK vs. DC, but I think it was a starnge mix and I don't like how they had to tone it down for the DC characters. I think they should go retro like SF IV did. Sports games are also huge and should be looked into. Stealing the Baseball and Football licenses from 2K Games and Electronic fArts could be a big win and would practically crush their competition. For a worldwide audience they could get exclusive rights to FIFA as well. I dont know if they can do this, but if they can afford to buy Rockstar Games from 2k games, or even buy 2k games outright I think that would be a big win and a kick in the nuts to Electronic tarts.
  • The Schnoz
    PS theyre not typos
  • sacre
    how bout they finish diablo 3.. damnit.. OH or i'll send them an email and say "Hey, if you're so eager to spend, i need some financial help, i'll put the money to good use..har har?

    eh.. speakin of blizzard, pretty snowy here
  • Pei-chen
    Activision Blizzard is now bigger than GM, GE and Citigroup. Dow Industrial should include Activision Blizzard in its index.

    Max Payne 3, StarTrek something, Hitman something, Knight of the Old Republic 3.
  • tonkatuffmofo
    Get Mechwarrior License back dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Mechwarrior 5 is waaaayyy over due.
    Dont think mechwarrior is popular anymore, google mechwarrior living legends and check out the amount of people that are flocking to this mod just for some more mech action. Better yet use some of that cash to employ the mod dev's. Gamers making games, thats where theres money to be made.
  • MoUsE-WiZ
    They should finish Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. In it's original form.