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Vivendi grabs Gameloft in hostile takeover; Ubisoft may be next

It appears a battle is brewing in France.


Media conglomerate Vivendi appears to have its eye on the game holdings of the Guillemot family of France. It apparently has succeeded in a hostile takeover of mobile game developer Gameloft and is likely switching its attention back to Ubisoft.

In a letter to Gameloft employees (via Gamasutra), Vivendi said that the workers would be joining their media group "shortly," likely signaling that all the major groundwork is done and that all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. The company purchased more than 30 percent of the Gameloft stock in February, and apparently was able to convince more shareholders to sell at an inflated 8 Euros per share price. Amber Capital, which owns another 14.6 percent of Gameloft's stock, reportedly is backing the takeover.

"In a buoyant digital environment that favors convergence between creative industries, the joining of Vivendi and Gameloft offers opportunities for cooperation in many areas: the co-creation of content, the development of new franchises, the building of wider communities and audiences and the pooling of our distribution networks, among other examples," the letter said.

With the Gameloft acquisition almost done, it is likely Vivendi will now put Ubisoft back in the crosshairs. Last fall, Vivendi bought a 10.39 percent stake in Ubi, and then purchased another 7.38 percent stake in April. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot isn't happy, calling the stockpiling of shares "unsolicited and unwanted." Guillemot has apparently been trying to solicit backers to stave off acquisition, even enlisting the aid of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. 

Vivendi has not been active in the games business since 2013, when it sold $5.83 billion worth of stock back to Activison Blizzard, allowing the company to become independent. As of 2014, Vivendi only had a 5.8% stake in the company. 

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