Ubisoft Is Afraid Of A Hostile Takeover

Ubisoft Is Afraid Of A Hostile Takeover

Ubisoft is seeking Canadian investors in an attempt to thwart the looming threat of a hostile takeover from Vivendi, the company that once owned Activision and is looking to re-enter the world of big video game publishing.

Vivendi, a Paris-based media conglomerate that has tentacles in music, film and TV, has already purchased 15 per cent of Ubisoft’s shares, and is looking to buy more, according to analysts. By trying to wrest control of the multinational game publisher by buying stock from current shareholders rather than come to terms with chairman Yves Guillemot and his board of directors, Vivendi is engaging in what’s called a hostile takeover. (Ubisoft has called it “unwelcome”.)

So Ubisoft is trying to fight back. Guillemot told the Toronto-based newspaper The Globe and Mail this week that they’re looking for new investors in Canada — specifically investors who are interested in sticking with Ubisoft for the long haul. “We want to increase the number of Canadian shareholders in Ubisoft to have better control over the capital,” he said. “We feel it’s a good defence.”

It’s hard to say what might happen if Vivendi’s plans go through, or how it’d affect Ubisoft, which publishes a ton of games including Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs and the upcoming The Division. A hostile takeover could lead to a serious talent drain among other negative consequences for the thousands of developers employed by Ubisoft.

“I don’t think it will happen,” said Wedbush financial analyst Michael Pachter in an email. “The Guillemots don’t want it and could leave if it happens, potentially competing by setting up their own new company. Vivendi hasn’t thought the risk of the Guillemots leaving all the way through.”

Earlier this year, Vivendi snatched over 30 per cent of stock in the mobile company Gameloft, which is also owned by the Guillemot brothers.


  • im putting my money on vivendi, considering that they owned Blizzard well before the merger with Activision and Vivendi were the ones in charged after the merger. Besides anything that pisses off the Guillemot Brothers is a good thing especially after all the hate and contemped that that they have shown the PC community

  • All this Doomsday preaching…

    What if Vivendi take over and then Ubisoft starts to release complete & polished games?

    Whatever, they can’t get much worse really.

    • That what I think as well. I have liked Ubisoft but they’re been really boring and the sorts of bugs are not the type that should make it through. Bugs are fine when they’re niche and only happen in certain circumstances but Ubisoft’s games have been failing everywhere.

  • Is the ownership of Ubisoft really of much interest to most of us? They’ve pretty much sucked their franchises dry by this point. Even ones I used to like, such as Assassins Creed and Far Cry, I just don’t give a shit any more when a new one comes out. If somebody else wants to preside over that, go right ahead. I probably won’t even notice.

    • As gamers the only concern we should have is whether Viviendi’s takeover will have a positive or negative effect on the games that will come out from Ubi after the takeover. From the perspective of shareholders, their concern is whether they like what Ubi management is currently doing and whether the takeover will bring positive or negative effects to the company (and as a result, share price).

  • Instead of diluting the stock ownership by getting more investors, can’t the Guillemot brothers just buy enough to gain a controlling interest?
    Doesn’t this just create more opportunities for Vivendi to buy up stock?

    • Well, the brothers would be under regulations for when they can buy, which they may be unable to. Also, stock dilution would make it harder for Vivendi’s takeover as dilution applies to them too and as more purchases are made, price will continue to go up. It’s already up almost 4% in the last day (16% in the last 5 days), likely due to this announcement.

      • Sure, but instead of there only being say 4000 people Vivendi could buy shares off of, there’s now 8000… some of whom will have bought shares purely to sell them to Vivendi.

        • Yes, I simply said it makes their job harder not impossible. Ideally, and going by what Yves said, they’re looking for investors willing to pay a premium to see it returned in the long run. End of the day, it depends on how high per share Vivendi are willing to pay.

  • Vivendi use to own Blizzard, not Activision. After the merger, they still own a portion of Activision-Blizzard.

  • As most have said, I don’t mind provided that, on the games side of things, we don’t get the short end of the stick. However, that seems unlikely as the decision is made by investors, not gamers (although I’m sure a few investors might be!).

    I however enjoy Ubisoft games. I know that they are often broken on release, but these days, with the back catalogue I have, I am happy to wait for those games to be patched and worked on for a while before playing them. That and I still go back to an older game every know and then too. Currently going through AC:IV Black Flag and loving it!

    I like Ubisoft and what they are trying to do, but like most AAA game makers/publishers these days, they use us to do all their alpha, beta, and QA testing.

  • “I don’t think it will happen,” said Wedbush financial analyst Michael Pachter in an email.

    Wow, I haven’t heard that name in a long, long time. IIRC people stopped reporting his predictions when it turns out he was only right about 40% of the time. So, if Pachter says it’s not going to happen, it’s probably guaranteed.

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