Update, September 26: Following Ubisoft’s success at its recent shareholders meeting, Vivendi are reportedly unsure what their next move will be.
Vivendi are unsure whether they will sell off their Ubisoft stock or bid for a takeover of the publisher. According to Bloomberg, Vivendi’s CEO has not decided what his company will do with its 26% stake in Ubisoft.
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Ubisoft dodged the potential threat from Vivendi during its annual shareholders meeting on Friday. They’ve been under threat from the conglomerate for a while, and if Vivendi were to play their cards right, they could get themselves a spot on Ubisoft’s board.
That could mean it would be easier for Vivendi to exert a takeover of Ubisoft, something that Ubisoft’s CEO is keem to avoid.
Original story, September 25:The threat of a takeover from Vivendi has been looming large over Ubisoft for more than a year, with the media conglomerate buying an increasing stake in the French publisher. Ubisoft’s leadership has been very public about wanting to maintain their independence, and the latest shareholders meeting has provided some good news for for the company.
Shareholders showed strong support for Ubisoft’s business by approving all ordinary resolutions on the agenda. That includes the renewal of Board of Directors positions for Didier Crespel, Laurence Hubert-Moy, Christian Guillemot, Claude Guillemot, and Michel Guillemot. They also passed the resolution to appoint Corinne Fernandez-Handelsman and Virginie Haas, making a majority – six of the 11 – Directors independent.
Proposed extraordinary resolutions also met the required two-thirds vote to pass, including a measure that would allow employees to participate in capital increases upon approval from the Board of Directors. However, shareholders rejected a proposal for a program to grant free shares to employees. The same measure failed to pass in 2016 due to an abstention from Vivendi.
It seems one of Ubisoft’s chief internal concerns was the possibility of a surprise resolution introduced by Vivendi, which did not happen. The threat of a buyout still looms, but it seems shareholders are in favor of Ubisoft’s current, independent strategy.
“We are delighted with the massive support of shareholders,” says Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, “which strengthens our determination and ability to defend the interests of all shareholders, and to pursue our strategy of growth and value creation. Ubisoft consolidates its position in the industry among the world’s leading video game and entertainment companies.”
— Alexandre Pelletier (@HALXP) September 22, 2017
Vivendi still own a 27% stake in Ubisoft, and under French law they would be able to pursue a takeover, which some reports suggest could happen as soon as this year. Vivendi have claimed not to be interested in a hostile takeover, but they did just that with mobile publisher Gameloft last year, which happened to be owned by the Guillemot family.