Activision Blizzard Inc., one of the world’s biggest video game publishers, is close to inking a deal to move its headquarters from Santa Monica to El Segundo.
The company expects to sign a lease in the next two months, said George Rose, chief public policy officer for Activision.
“We have to be there very, very soon, by January, so we have to sign the lease very, very soon,” said Rose, who oversees facilities issues for the company. Activision’s lease at its 3100 Ocean Park Blvd. headquarters building will expire Dec. 31.
The company is considering two undisclosed locations in El Segundo and would sign a 10-year lease for 200,000 square feet – roughly the size of its current Ocean Park headquarters, said Matthew Miller, president of CresaPartners LLC., who is representing Activision. He expects the lease to be valued at roughly $75 million.
Rose said the company plans to make the move because the city of El Segundo has more attractive business tax rates. He also said that negotiations with its Ocean Park headquarters landlord, Equity Office Properties, did not go as planned.
“It’s a situation where EOP has not been forthcoming with the kind of things we expect from them. We’ve been here for a very long time; we believe we are a great tenant,” he said. “Going to El Segundo – I don’t see what the choice is that we’ve got.”
Roughly 900 people are employed at the headquarters and a Santa Monica video game studio, which also would make the move to El Segundo. Miller refused to disclose the locations, citing ongoing negotiations.
Activision, publisher of popular video games such as “Guitar Hero” and “World of Warcraft,” considered moving to Fox Hills and Playa Vista before zeroing in on El Segundo. Activision already has some offices in El Segundo and others in Irvine.
The move would make El Segundo a video game company hub; Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. and Nexon America have presences there.
“Activision would be really big (for the city),” said Bill Crowe, assistant city manager of El Segundo, who was aware of the company’s search. “We’ve focused in on creative industries.”
Crowe said that El Segundo offers reduced business licensing fees that “would be more competitive than Santa Monica.” It bases its business tax on metrics that include employee head count and square footage occupied, which would likely result in a “significant reduction in business tax.”
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