Despite efforts by Ubisoft to prevent Vivendi from becoming a majority shareholder, Vivendi acquires more of Ubisoft’s stock, increasing its share of the company.
The mass media company Vivendi may have sold off Activision Blizzard, but it’s not giving up on the world of video game publishing. In fact, despite resistance, Vivendi is increasing its quantity of shares in game publisher Ubisoft.
Vivendi has now announced that they’ve purchased more of Ubisoft’s shares, increasing their share of the company to 17.73%, with 15.66% of Ubisoft’s overall voting shares. This is up from their last major investment in Ubisoft a couple months ago, when they increased their share of the company to 15%.
Technically speaking, Vivendi has the right to obtain as many shares of the company as they care to invest in. However, its constant efforts to scoop up more shares has made Ubisoft officials extremely nervous. Vivendi has a history of buying out gaming companies, and Ubisoft officials have made it clear that they don’t want Vivendi to acquire a majority shareholder position. If they do, Vivendi will have major sway over decisions made regarding Ubisoft’s future. Even as it stands now, Vivendi now has control over 15.66% of the voting shares, meaning that it has a huge influence over any decisions put to a vote that could drastically alter Ubisoft’s path.
Vivendi has repeatedly stated that it has no intention of performing a hostile takeover of Ubisoft, but that hasn’t kept Ubisoft from going on the defensive. Ubisoft chairman Yves Guillemot has even gone so far as to approach the Canadian government for its help in finding Canadian investors that can purchase stock and prevent Vivendi from becoming a majority shareholder. It’s unclear whether or not Ubisoft has had any success in this endeavour, but Vivendi is clearly not backing down.
It’s entirely possible that Vivendi is being truthful when it says that it has no intention of taking over Ubisoft. As a mass media company, it has many different interests across many different forms of media. Ubisoft is a huge publishing company with fresh AAA titles like Far Cry Primal and massive sellers like The Division in its catalog; chances are, Vivendi sees Ubisoft as game publisher with a bright future, and thus has decided that it’s a great investment.
Unfortunately, companies that go public lose some control in the process, and Ubisoft appears to be afraid that it will be handing the reins to another company entirely. Although it remains to be seen if Vivendi is being truthful or not about taking over Ubisoft, Ubisoft has been behind a very large amount of popular and profitable games. Even if Vivendi did become a majority shareholder, there’s no reason to assume that they would want to drastically change Ubisoft, as it’s certainly not broken when it comes to making money.