It might be Ubisoft's 30th anniversary this year, but that hasn't stopped the Vivendi juggernaut from raining on the French publisher's parade. The umbrella corporation has since moved on from its Gameloft acquisition and has now acquired more than 20% of Ubisoft's share capital.
Photo: Ubisoft Montreal
The transaction took place last week, but it wasn't until recently that Vivendi announced they had upped their share of Ubisoft's voting rights to 17.76% and their control of Ubisoft's share capital to 20.10%.
Vivendi, which is run by Vincent Bollore, is still publicly talking about a "fruitful cooperation" with the French publisher, although the latter doesn't seem particularly interested in having any sort of association with Vivendi whatsoever.
Because Vivendi has exceeded the 20% legal threshold in its ownership of Ubisoft, the corporation announced its intentions over the rest of the calendar year in regards to Ubisoft:
- Vivendi’s acquisitions have been financed using its disposable cash; - Vivendi is not acting together with any third party in connection with its investment in Ubisoft and has not entered into a temporary sale agreement concerning Ubisoft’s shares or voting rights; - Vivendi does not hold instruments and is not a party to agreements such as those referred to in paragraphs 4° and 4° bis of Article L.233-9 of the French Code de commerce (Trade Code); - Vivendi is considering continuing to acquire shares depending on market conditions; - Vivendi is not considering the launch of a public tender on Ubisoft nor acquiring the control of the company; - Vivendi is hoping to build a fruitful cooperation with Ubisoft; - Vivendi is considering asking for a recomposition of the Ubisoft Board of Directors in order to, among other things, obtain Board representation consistent with its shareholder position; - Vivendi’s investment in Ubisoft’s business sector is part of a strategic vision of operational convergence between Vivendi’s content and platform and Ubisoft’s productions in the field of video games. Since this strategy does not require any modification to Ubisoft’s legal or financial organization, Vivendi is not contemplating any of the transactions referred to in Article 223-17, I, 6° of the AMF Règlement Général (General Regulations).
Louis Capital Markets-Midcap Partners analyst Charles-Louis Planade told Bloomberg that a Vivendi launching a takeover bid "still seems like a probability", especially considering that the Gameloft acquisition alone was unlikely to fulfil Vivendi's objections.
But given that Vivendi has publicly announced that it won't be making a move for control of Ubisoft within the next 6 months, it means they can sit back and assess the fallout of some of Ubisoft's largest properties. The Assassin's Creed movie will hit local theatres on Boxing Day, while Steep, Grow Up, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole are also expected to release before the end of the year.