[UPDATE] Ubisoft has responded to Vivendi’s move. In a statement to Game Informer, the company said it remains committed to “preserving the independence of the company.” Additionally, a Bloomberg story from late March quotes Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot as saying a hostile Vivendi takeover of Ubisoft would “kill creativity.”
“We are not at all surprised by this latest statement from Vivendi, nor by the intent behind it. This is a confirmation of their habitual strategy of creeping control, in which they say they have no intention to take control of Ubisoft while steadily increasing their stake and preparing an offensive at the next Annual Shareholders Meeting.
“This strategy of successively announcing conflicting intentions is contrary to good corporate practices and is not in the best interests of Ubisoft’s other shareholders. Moreover, despite our repeated written requests since they first entered into our capital, Vivendi has never presented any details or convincing plan on how this supposed cooperation would take place.
“Ubisoft’s management remains committed to preserving the independence of the company, which is the condition for the long-term value creation that will benefit all of our shareholders.”
The original story is below.
Vivendi, the French media conglomerate that once owned Activision Blizzard, has increased its stake in Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry publisher Ubisoft. The company formerly held a 10 percent position in Ubisoft, but has now increased its stake further. It now holds 17.73 percent of Ubsioft’s capital and 15.66 percent of voting shares.
This is according to Vivendi documents filed this week and reported on by Reuters (via Gamasutra). The media company said in its filing that it has “no plans” to attempt a Ubisoft takover or make an offer for the company’s outstanding shares.
In 2015, Vivendi increased its stake to 10 percent from 6.6 percent, in a move that Ubisoft called “unsolicited and unwelcome.” Since then, Ubisoft management has met with a series of investors and even the Canadian government as part of “fight to preserve our independence.”
It’s unclear what impact Vivendi’s continued acquisition of shares could have on Ubisoft. But considering Ubisoft is among the biggest game publishers in the world, with franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Just Dance under its umbrella, we’ll continue to monitor this story closely.
Vivendi is the former owner of Activision Blizzard. The company began looking to sell off its majority stake in the publisher in 2012 and eventually did so in 2013. It still owns part of the company, but that figure–roughly 12 percent after the 2013 sale–is now less than six percent.