Odds shorten on Vivendi double swoop for Ubisoft and Gameloft


Is the net closing in on Ubisoft? Talk of major upheaval at sister company Gameloft has sparked further speculation that French media giant Vivendi is preparing to make a ‘hostile’ move on the Assassin’s Creed publisher.

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Reports suggest Gameloft chief executive Michel Guillemot will resign from his position at the mobile outfit following Vivendi’s successful attempt to win over the company’s shareholders in its takeover bid.

As a result, Guillemot will effectively jump before he is pushed, with Vivendi issuing an open letter to Gameloft employees highlighting a desire for future expansion.

“We are convinced that Gameloft, with Vivendi’s backing, can be more ambitious in its growth plans,” details Vivendi in the letter. “In a rapidly-evolving market, your company, which needs industrial and financial backing to develop, will be able to count on our full support and commitment.”

Though Vivendi has previously stated it has no intention to make a similar move on Gameloft’s sister company Ubisoft, Michel Guillemot and his brother Yves – Ubisoft’s current CEO – believe it’s the logical next step for the media giant. Back in October last year, Yves went public with his desire for Ubisoft to fight off any takeover bids.

“Our intention is and has always been to remain independent, a value which, for 30 years, has allowed us to innovate, take risks, create beloved franchises for players around the world, and which has helped the company grow into the leader it is today,” Guillemot said in an email obtained by GamesIndustry.biz, which also claimed Vivendi had a reputation of “aggressively pursuing companies within the entertainment sector.”

“We’re going to fight to preserve our independence,” he conclued. “We should not let this situation – nor any future actions by Vivendi or others – distract us from our goals. Our best defence is to stay focused on what we have always done best – deliver the most original and memorable gaming experiences.”

Nevertheless, Vivendi has since increased its existing stake in Ubisoft to 17.7 percent and requested that it now have a presence at board level. As we’ve previously reported, the Guillemot family’s current strategy is to attract other investors to take a stake in the publisher, though commentators believe Vivendi’s ability to convince Gameloft’s shareholders to green light its takeover against the board’s advice bodes well for any future move on Ubisoft.