Vivendi Continues to Attempt to Usurp Ubisoft

The king is dead, long live the king.


Ubisoft has been fighting off a takeover by Vivendi for the better part of a year now. It seems like it may have only delayed the inevitable though. Vivendi has revealed that it now owns 25% of Ubisoft stock and 23% of its voting rights.

It's increasingly obvious that Vivendi has designs on acquiring the leading AAA video game publisher/developer. Late last year Vivendi only owned a 10% stake in Ubisoft. By June 2016 it had doubled that amount to 20%. Last month they crossed 24%. Under French law, if Vivendi is able to acquire 30% or more of Ubisoft's stock, it must make an offer to buy the company.

Vivendi has filed a declaration with French securities regulator Autorité des Marchés stating its intentions for the coming six months. Vivendi said it's considering acquiring even more of Ubisoft's stock if market conditions are favorable. However, it also stated that it's not planning to launch an offer to buy or take control of Ubisoft.

Actions speak louder than words though. Vivendi has requested that Ubisoft reorganise its board of directors to ensure that Vivendi's representation on the board in consistent with its percentage of stock. Vivendi claims that it desires to work alongside the Ubisoft team, but Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot isn't convinced.

Guillemot believes that Vivendi is attempting to acquire control of Ubisoft much like it did Gameloft earlier this year. Guillemot might have more than a professional stake in this fight. Gameloft was also run by the Guillemot family, so Yves may feel as though this takeover attempt is personal.

Guillemot has stated that he will fight to preserve the publisher's independence. Ubisoft developers are feeling the heat as well, stating that they can't live with the threat of a Vivendi takeover. Whether or not Vivendi will end up taking over Ubisoft will likely play out in the next six months if it continues to acquite Ubisoft stock at its current rate.

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