Ubisoft fights off hostile Vivendi takeover


Ubisoft has finally eliminated the threat of a hostile takeover by Vivendi.

Ubisoft today announced that it has reached an agreement with Vivendi, in which Vivendi will sell its entire stake in Ubisoft. Over recent years, Vivendi had amassed a 27.3 per cent stake in Ubisoft, as it sought to launch a hostile takeover of the French games publisher. 

Ubisoft strongly fought Vivendi’s overtures, and finally managed to find two saviours, in the form of giant Chinese company Tencent and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, both of which will become major investors in Ubisoft, acquiring stakes in Ubisoft of 5.0 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively. Ubisoft will also engage in a share buy-back, amounting to 8.1 per cent of its share capital.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said: “The evolution in our shareholding is great news for Ubisoft. It was made possible thanks to the outstanding execution of our strategy and the decisive support of Ubisoft talents, players and shareholders. The investment from new long-term shareholders in Ubisoft demonstrates their trust in our future value creation potential, and Ubisoft’s share buy-back will be accretive to all shareholders.” 

Ubisoft also announced a strategic partnership with Tencent – which already owns Riot Games and Supercell, along with a big stake in Epic Games. Guillemot said: “The new strategic partnership agreement we signed will enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential.” Given that Ubisoft already has a development studio in China, partnering with Tencent makes eminently good sense. 

The threat of a hostile takeover by Vivendi had hung over Ubisoft for years, but now the French publisher can relax and concentrate on its core business of making games.