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Strong Assassin's Creed Sales May Prevent EA Buyout of Ubisoft

Strong sales of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed (PS3, X360) may have staved off the long-rumored EA acquisition of the publisher, reports the Financial Times.

EA bought a 20% stake in Ubisoft back in 2004, a move many regarded as a precursor to an eventual merger. Though the topic is a constant source of discussion, with both Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillmeot and EA COO William Gordon chiming in on the matter, EA has yet to take any further action, while Ubisoft has diluted EA's American holdings in the company down to 15.4%.

Now, with sales of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed exceeding 2.5 million copies and estimated to hit 5 million by March, the French company's worth just shot up again, making a possible acquisition all the more expensive. At present, Ubisoft's market value is pegged at $4.3 billion, and PC and DS editions of Assassin's Creed are due out next spring.

Earlier in the month, Activision and Vivendi Games unexpectedly merged, creating what it claims to be the largest third-party video game publisher. The move triggered a rash of speculation about the possible acquisition targets of other companies, especially EA, as it previously held the mantle of the world's largest publisher.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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