This excerpt taken from the ATVI 10-Q filed Nov 10, 2008.
Managements Overview of Historical and Prospective Business Trends
Console hardware platforms In 2005, Microsoft released the Xbox 360 and, in 2006, Sony and Nintendo introduced their respective hardware platforms, the PlayStation 3 and Wii. Activisions plan is to continue to build a significant presence on the PS3, the Wii and the Xbox360 by expanding the number of titles released on these platforms and hand-held platforms while continuing to market to the PS2 platform as long as economically attractive given its large installed base.
Business combination and investments We have engaged in, evaluated, and expect to continue to engage in and evaluate, a wide array of potential strategic transactions, including acquisitions of companies, businesses, intellectual properties, and other assets. During the three months ended September 30, 2008, we consummated our previously announced business combination (the Business Combination) pursuant to the Business Combination Agreement (the Business Combination Agreement), dated as of December 1, 2007, by and among the Company, Sego Merger Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, Vivendi S.A. (Vivendi), VGAC LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vivendi (VGAC), and Vivendi Games, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of VGAC, (Vivendi Games). Upon the closing of the Business Combination, which occurred on July 9, 2008, Activision, Inc. was renamed Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Activision Blizzard). Activision Blizzard continues to operate as a public company traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol
ATVI. Activision Blizzard now conducts the combined business operations of Activision, Inc. and Vivendi Games including Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (Blizzard). In connection with the Business Combination, we issued approximately 717 million shares of our common stock to VGAC including 126 million shares of common stock purchased by Vivendi for approximately $1.7 billion. Immediately following the consummation of the Business Combination, VGAC owned approximately 54% of Activision Blizzards issued and outstanding common stock. While Activision was the surviving entity in this Business Combination, because the transaction is treated as a reverse acquisition, Vivendi Games is deemed to be the acquirer for accounting purposes. Accordingly, Activision Blizzard applied purchase accounting to the assets and liabilities of Activision as of July 9, 2008. Also, for all Exchange Act filings following consummation of the Business Combination, the historical financial statements of Activision for periods prior to the consummation of the Business Combination are those of Vivendi Games. Activision, Inc. businesses are included in Activision Blizzards financial statements for all periods subsequent to the consummation of the Business Combination only. See Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information. Also, to further strengthen our development resources and underscoring our commitment to the music-based genre, on September 11, 2008, we acquired Freestyle Games, Ltd., a premier United Kingdom-based video game developer specializing in the music-based genre.
International operations Activision focuses on the growth of the European market through developing localized contents for its Guitar Hero franchises and other franchises or titles in terms of contents and packaging. For the Asian market, Blizzard distributes World of Warcraft through direct operations and licenses. Blizzard licensed with The 9 to distribute World of Warcraft in China and with SoftWorld in Taiwan. Internet game room players and prepaid cards are also very popular in Asia, particularly in South Korea. Recently, Blizzard has licensed Blizzard Entertainments StarCraft II, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and Battle.net platform to a company affiliated with NetEase.com, Inc. Blizzard and NetEase have also established a joint venture, which will provide support for the operation of the licensed games and Battle.net platform in China. For the quarter ended September 30, 2008, Blizzard released a Russian language version of World of Warcraft in Russia. Also, Blizzard expanded the sale of support for World of Warcraft into Russia and Spanish-speaking Latin America.
Integration and reorganization Following the Business Combination on July 9, 2008, we have restructured the Vivendi Games businesses to capture cost-synergy to form the streamlined organization of Activision Blizzard. For the remainder for the year 2008 and beyond, we expect to continue to incur a restructuring expense mainly relating to severance payments to interim employees who are currently assisting us to exit our non-core operations and unutilized facilities. We anticipate completely exiting or winding down our non-core operations by June 2009 inclusive of organizational restructuring activities as a result of the Business Combination. For the next nine months, we anticipate incurring between $75 million and $100 million of additional before tax restructuring charges, and after tax cash restructuring charges between $45 million and $60 million relating to the Business Combination. Overall, including charges incurred through September 30, 2008, we expect to incur cash and non-cash before tax restructuring charges between $135 million and $160 million by June 30, 2009 with an after tax cash impact between $70 million and $90 million. The after tax cash charges are expected to consist primarily of employee-related severance cash costs (approximately $55 million), facility exit cash costs (approximately $25 million) and cash contract terminations (approximately $10 million). Separately, these restructuring charges are expected to be partially offset by approximately between $30 million and $50 million of cash proceeds from asset disposals and cash after tax benefits related to the streamlining of the Vivendi Games title portfolio.
Console online games Activision has published games with significant online functionality that constitutes a more-than-inconsequential separate service deliverable in addition to the product, and in which our performance obligations for these titles extends beyond the sale of the game. Vendor-specific objective evidence of fair value (VSOE) does not exist for these online features, as we do not separately charge for this component of these titles. As a result, we recognize all of the revenue from the sale of these titles ratably over an estimated service period. In addition, we defer the costs of sales of these titles to match revenue.
MMOG online games Blizzard will publish the second expansion pack of World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King, in multiple countries in November 2008. We expect this expansion pack will bring Blizzard new subscribers and expand Blizzards subscription revenues.
Impact of deferral revenues and cost of sales We anticipate that, in calendar 2008, we will likely defer approximately $568 million in net revenues and $199 million in costs of sales from the sale of console and MMOG online games titles into calendar 2009. Since most of these titles are planned for release in the December quarter of calendar 2008, we expect that a majority of revenues and costs of sales for these products will be deferred in the December quarter of calendar 2008, and recognized in calendar year 2009. However, the actual amount of revenues and costs of sales deferred will vary significantly depending upon the timing of the release of these titles and the sales volume of such products.
Other revenues Activision is continuing development of online capabilities for its games. Activision will continue to exploit other revenue sources, including downloadable content and in game advertising for its console games, such as Guitar Hero World Tour, and GH Tunes as one of the newly added features to the Guitar Hero franchise.
Economic conditions We continue to monitor the recent widely reported unfavorable changes in economic conditions including the likely slowdown in consumer spending this holiday season, which may have impacts on our businesses, such as the pricing of our products, purchases by our customers, and credit quality of our receivables.