After years of the looming threat of a Vivendi takeover, Ubisoft have negotiated a deal to end the media conglomerate’s stake in the game publisher. Vivendi will sell all 30,489,300 they own in Ubisoft, at €66 per share for a total of over €2 billion. Part of the stock will return to Ubisoft, part will go to new investors, and a portion will be going to Ubisoft’s founding family, the Guillemot brothers.
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“Today, Ubisoft is fully reaping the benefits of our long-term strategy and the successful transformation towards a more recurring and profitable business,” says CEO Yves Guillemot. “Ubisoft is perfectly positioned to capture the numerous video game growth drivers in the coming years. We are focused more than ever on delivering on our strategic plan.”
Ubisoft’s new investors include Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and more significantly, Tencent. The massive Chinese company has acquired 5% of Ubisoft’s capital, and will enter into a partnership with the French publisher to expand the reach of Ubisoft games in China, including as-yet-unspecified titles on PC and mobile.
If you’re curious about the final numbers, here’s where all of the shares formerly held by Vivendi will go, and what percentage of total Ubi capital they represent.
- Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan - 3,787,878 (3.4%)
- Tencent - 5,591,469 (5.0%)
- Guillemot Brothers SE - 3,030,303 (2.7%)
- Ubisoft buy-back - 9,090,909 (8.1%)
- To be resold - 8,988,741 (8.0%)
It’s certainly a major victory for Ubisoft, who have been fighting hard to maintain their independence ever since Vivendi began making overtures at a takeover, with even their E3 conferences containing plenty of hopeful pleas that they might maintain their independence. Vivendi said in November they had no intentions of staging a takeover for at least six months, and it seems that statement will be holding much longer.
The specifics of the deal make doubly good news for the publisher, as their new partnership with Tencent opens doors to the massive gaming market in China with help from the region’s biggest game distributor.