After years of progress, the French conglomerate Vivendi has reportedly retired its efforts to commit a ‘hostile takeover’ of Ubisoft. Ubisoft can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that its defenses against the major shareholder have succeeded and are no longer needed.
Three years ago Ubisoft stated that one of its shareholders, Vivendi, was attempting a ‘hostile takeover’. By purchasing a large portion of Ubisoft’s stocks, Vivendi sought to become a majority shareholder. Quickly, Ubisoft began defending its company by seeking long-term investors who wouldn’t resell their shares to Vivendi. In 2016, Vivendi had acquired over 20% of Ubisoft’s stocks, but stated that it was delaying its takeover due to its ‘strategic vision’. Earlier that year Vivendi had also seized control of French game publisher, Gameloft.
The takeover of Gameloft began during a difficult period for the mobile game publisher as it closed seven studios and recorded a loss of millions. Vivendi sprung at the opportunity and began purchasing its stocks immediately, tempting existing shareholders to sell while they could. Although Ubisoft’s situation was different since it has the defensive resources and has not been experiencing a decline in sales, shareholders elected to sell anyways and put the company at risk. This was an ever-existing, fearful thought in the back of Ubisoft’s mind, especially considering that during the resignation of the CEO of Gameloft and co-founder of Ubisoft, Michel Guillemot, Guillemot’s family stated that Vivendi’s takeover was “against the best interest of Gameloft.”
Vivendi began selling some of its shares earlier this year, but it still holds nearly 7% of Ubisoft’s stock. According to Vivendi, 1% will be sold in two days, while the rest will be sold in March of next year. Based on a price of almost $77 per share, Vivendi’s remaining stock totals over $500 million.
Although Vivendi’s intentions seem pure, its attempted takeover of Ubisoft could have been catastrophic for the gaming industry. Owning the majority of Ubisoft’s stocks, Vivendi would have had control of Ubisoft’s Board of Directors and could essentially steer the company in any direction it chooses. Ubisoft and its fans can relax since its future is no longer in jeopardy. Now, with Assassins Creed: Odyssey releasing in less than a week, it is safe to say that Ubisoft’s future is safe and bright.