Microsoft trying to buy Vivendi's gaming division?


— 12:42 PM on January 24, 2003

TR reader Thresher tipped us off that Microsoft may be looking at buying Vivendi's game publishing business. At first, this sounded a little too fantastical, but now that Yahoo Finance has picked up the story, I'm starting to believe:

LOS ANGELES, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Investment bank Investec said on Friday that it believed Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqNM:MSFT - News) was in talks with French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal (NYSE:V - News) about buying Vivendi's video game business for as much as $2 billion.

A spokeswoman for Vivendi Universal's game unit declined to comment. A Microsoft spokeswoman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Jeff Van Rhee, Investec's director of enterprise software research, told Reuters he had received indications a deal was in the works. "There was some pretty actionable data that said something had just happened and things were heating up pretty quickly," he said.

Vivendi publishes a few games you may have heard of; Half-life, Counter-Strike, Diablo, and WarCraft are just a few of the franchises in its stable. You can bet Microsoft wouldn't mind having the publishing rights to those high-profile titles, especially since it's looking for marquee titles to help sell Xbox consoles.
 
   
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