Report: Vivendi Preparing For Ubisoft Takeover

Ubisoft Takeover

After months of speculation, Vivendi will attempt an Ubisoft takeover according to a Reuters report.

The report says that the push is due in part to investor concerns over the French conglomerate’s direction and falling share prices. “Vivendi is moving to the second phase, everything will take place this year,” said one of the unnamed sources quoted in the report. A second source said that while Ubisoft is the company’s primary target in the video games industry, there is a limit to how much Vivendi would spend.

Vivendi has spent the past two years increasing its stake in Ubisoft. Initially, Vivendi purchased a 6.6 percent stake in the company. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot called the initial purchase “unsolicited and unwelcome.” That didn’t deter Vivendi from continuing to purchase shares. Vivendi now holds a 25 percent stake in the Assassin’s Creed publisher.

Vivendi is no stranger to the games industry. The company is the former owner of Activision Blizzard and recently completed an acquisition of mobile developer Gameloft. Gameloft founder and CEO Michel Guillemot is also a co-founder of Ubisoft and his brother is the company’s CEO.

Vivendi has denied it intends to stage a hostile takeover of Ubisoft. However, the family ties between Gameloft and Ubisoft has led to speculation that the move was a power play to force the Guillemot family to negotiate. Yves Guillemot has voiced his desire to keep Ubisoft out of Vivendi’s hands on multiple occasions.

Ubisoft has taken steps to ward off takeover. The company sought out Canadian investors who would vow not to sell shares to Ubisoft. They also appointed two independent directors to the board. These directors are not affiliated with Vivendi and their support, as well as other longstanding directors, would give Yves Guillemot 50 percent of the board votes. This is enough power to prevent Vivendi from using its stake in the company to alter the board of directors.

The news comes after Ubisoft recently opened two new studios focused on AAA development. Ubisoft also recently released the first DLC for Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Ubisoft has not yet issued a response to the report.

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