Activision Blizzard (ATVI 1.34%) has been an excellent performer for long-term shareholders, with a total return of more than 500% over the past decade. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on Oct. 18, Fool.com contributor Toby Bordelon tells us why, although he's owned Activision Blizzard shares for a long time, he's not planning on selling them anytime soon.
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Toby Bordelon: I bought it very early on. I believe the shares I own now came from an option position, a synthetic long I set up over 10 years ago and turned into shares. The original thesis was that this company at the time was majority-owned by a big conglomerate -- Vivendi (VIVHY 1.23%), I believe it was -- a big French conglomerate, international company. The idea was that at some point, they are probably going to start giving up some controls, spinning this off, getting rid of position, and then it would just take off.
That's actually what happened. It took longer than expected, but I kept holding my shares, and I never got rid of them. I like the company, I like what they're doing, I just never get rid of the shares, and it's just worth a lot more now than it was when I bought it.
What do they do? Activision Blizzard is a video game producer. That's the easy way to describe them. They have three major divisions. Activision would be one of them, Blizzard, the other one -- you're seeing where the name comes from -- and the third big one they have is King Digital.
Activision -- their big property right now is Call of Duty. Blizzard, you probably know from World of Warcraft -- that's their biggest well-known property. King Digital is more into the mobile, casual gaming. One you'd probably know from them even if you don't follow the video game industry is Candy Crush, which was really big on Facebook (META 3.01%) back in the day. One of the first games that started coming out on social media in the Facebook platform. It was [also] bundled, I think with Windows, and may still be. When you first install Windows, it just appears there for you. It was being played on a cellphone, one of the first games you could play on a cellphone. That's Activision in a nutshell.
A lot of people probably know them, they probably know some of their properties. You might also have heard then recently, they've been in the news for not-awesome reasons. They've had cultural issues -- mainly focused in the Blizzard division, I believe, though you can start to make a case that maybe it's a little bit beyond that -- but cultural issues with how certain people are treated. Toxic work environment, a lot of stuff has come out. The state of California has sued them for employment violations because of this culture they have. They're struggling through that. The former president of the Blizzard division has resigned, he's no longer with the company, so they definitely have some work to do in that area. But, at least up until that, this was a great holding for me. It had done quite well. A big player in the video game industry, a lot of solid properties that generate cash over and over.