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Ubisoft’s founders increase their stake in the company to fight off Vivendi


Update June 27, 2017: Ubisoft founders the Guillemot family have increased their stake in the company in an attempt to fight off a Vivendi takeover bid.

According to a filing on the AMF stock market regulator, France’s Guillemot family now holds 13.6% of Ubisoft’s share capital, and 20.02% of the company’s voting rights.

See what’s on its way from Ubisoft in our list of upcoming PC games.

This doesn’t mean Ubisoft are out of danger, however, asVivendi still hold 27% of Ubisoft’s share capital and 24.5% of the voting rights.

Thanks, Reuters.

Update April 25, 2017:Late last year, Vivendi increased their stake in Ubisoft so they owned over 25% of the company. Things have been pretty quiet since then, but it looks like that was just the calm before the storm.

According toReuters, Vivendi will accelerate acquisitions in the videogames sector this year, to appease stakeholders who want to know the company’s end goal.

Ubisoft are expected to be among the first targets, according to sources.Apparently this is part of Vivendi’s “second phase” and everything will take place in 2017. Vivendi are apparently looking to buy Ubisoft before the year is out.

Update December 8, 2016:Vivendi have further increased their stake in Ubisoft, with the media firm now owning over a quarter of the French game publisher’s shares, as well as22.92% of their voting rights.

Using disposable cash, Vivendi have been slowly and steadily growing their investment this past year, to the point where they now own 25.15% of the company. If this hits 30%, Vivendi will be forced to perform a mandatory takeover bid.

According to Business Wire, Vivendi willconsidering continuing to acquire shares, depending on market conditions, though they’re not considering acquiring control of the company.

As stated, though, if they reach 30%, French law will require Vivendi topursue a controlling stake.

Update November 8, 2016:In just five months, Vivendi have increased their stake in Ubisoft by over 4%, giving them ownership of almost a quarter of the company’s shares.

Despite a brief respite at theUbisoft shareholders meeting,it looks like Vivendi are going ahead with a hostile takeover of the French publishers. Earlier this week, the company posted apress releaseabout the increase.

“Vivendi announced today that it crossed the statutory threshold of 24% of Ubisoft’s share capital on November 4, 2016,” says the release. “On that date it owned 24.059% of the share capital and 21.296% of the voting rights of Ubisoft, based on the number of shares and voting rights declared by the video games company on September 30, 2016.”

The company needs a 30% share of Ubisoft in order to trigger a mandatory takeover bid. If this pace continues, this will all play out before June 2017.

Original Story June 22, 2016: Despite previously claiming they weren’t looking to take over Ubisoft, media company Vivendi have increased their stake in the French game publisher, and they now own 20% of Ubisoft’s shares.

Gameloft, the mobile games company with triple-A ambitions, fell victim to Vivendi earlier this month when they were taken over. Gameloft is owned by Michel Guillemot, brother of Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot.

Vivendi’s stake in Ubisoft has been quickly climbing since October 2015, when Vivendi purchased a 6.6% stake in Ubisoft, before raising it to 10% in February 2016, and then 18% in April, 2016.

According to Bloomberg Vivendi now hold a 20.1% stake in Ubisoft, and the company have plans to acquire more shares. Vivendi are also possibly looking “to be represented on [Ubisoft’s] board”.

Vivendi chief executive Vincent Bollore claims the company wants to develop a “fruitful cooperation” with Ubisoft. He also said they won’t be looking to take control of the company for the next six months, so Ubisoft better act quickly if they’re looking to be saved by another investor.

At this year’s E3, Yves Guillemot took to the stage with a bunch of Ubisoft developers to make a speech quite clearly aimed at the Vivendi takeover bid.

“I love videogames because the real innovation and magic happens when our teams and players are free to innovate, free to create, free to express themselves and free to have fun,”Guillemot said.

“That is what has got us here today and that is what will drive us for another 30 years and beyond. Because when you are free there is no failure, only forward.”

Thanks, Eurogamer.