Electronic Arts sells its stake in Ubisoft

Publisher ditches every share in French company; acquisition speculation laid to rest.

Six years ago Electronic Arts bought a near 20 percent stake in Ubisoft in what was deemed a "hostile" move. In 2007, EA's operating stake in the French publisher increased, but today, the company unloaded every share it once owned and laid long-running acquisition thoughts to rest.

Electronic Arts and Ubisoft are going separate ways.

EA confirmed for GameSpot today that it sold its entire stake in Ubisoft, a roughly 15 percent portion of the company. According to the Wall Street Journal, EA had been the French publisher's largest shareholder.

"EA has elected to sell its interest in Ubisoft Entertainment. Our strategic priorities have changed since our initial investment. More recently, the Ubisoft position has been viewed as a portfolio holding, rather than a strategic holding," the publisher said via statement. "Today, EA is the world's foremost publisher of packaged goods games. We remain focused on growing our capability as a developer and distributor of online content and services. We maintain the highest respect for Ubisoft's s creative leaders and the management team that runs their business."

A Ubisoft spokesperson speaking with the WSJ could not provide specifics as to when the deal was done or how much the stock was valued at but was upbeat about the transaction.

"This is good news for Ubisoft, which regains its independence, although Electronic Arts has always supported our strategy," the Ubisoft spokesperson told Dow Jones Newswires.

Bloomberg Businessweek cited two people familiar with the matter, claiming the 15 percent stake equaled 94 million Euros ($122 million).

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Discussion

47 comments
vivendidoom
vivendidoom

@halomonkey1_2_3 First off, EA has an entirely different strategy than Ubisoft. Both companies are in it for one thing though and that's money. Its not correct to say that one company has more talent than the other save for blizzard. But what you have failed to accomplish is the point of who is the better company? None of them. You bring up sports For EA...well Ubisoft does not specialize in sports, they specialize in reality based fantasy. To put Madden against the Tom Clancy Franchise or NCAA against Assassins Creed is to say That Tyson is better at making products than Air Wick. You can not compare cause they are totally different companies. Try to make a coherent argument next time.

mf1986
mf1986

after Ubisoft's press conference at E3 i would've done the same

prioritymail
prioritymail

Good, I don't need EA messing up Ubisoft.

ShockerX01
ShockerX01

For once, you made a smart choice EA. E3 conference or not, I bet its all due of the DRM made for Assassin Creed II and R.U.S.E ... Oh wait, you have something like that for CnC 4 right EA? My bad, probably from the E3 then ...

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

Unlike many of you guys, I think ubisoft's E3 show was about 50/50. The hardcore games they showed were awesome, and that's all i care about. The casual stuff, well, it may also sell well, but that's not what I'm paying attention to. I've noticed, however, that Ubisoft seems to be a bit more willing to take risks than EA or especially Activision, and that's something I appreciate.

gamerpipe
gamerpipe

good news ,otherwise EA would make Ubisoft develop assassin spore.

amaan4ever
amaan4ever

@ jjarvis92 ur joking right ubi one of the best games unlike Cheaptivision or EA who come out with the same game with a different name every year.Ubi has the greatest of games including the very popular prince of persia AC medal of honor.without medal of honor everybody wouldve been sucking on COD series

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

Both companies are lions for lambs. Ubisoft has turned into a new EA

halomonkey1_3_5
halomonkey1_3_5

@vivendidoom Regardless of if they "failed" at E3, the truth is that Ubisoft doesnt have the talent or resources to put out major hits, while EA has set its self up to put out multiple hits per year(Madden, NCAA football/Basketball, etc) and ubisofts stock will continue to drop so its wise for EA to sell now instead of in a year when the price will have fallen dramatically.

jjarvis92
jjarvis92

so who purchased these shares. is it a fact that ubisoft re-purchased those shares or not? -read below- "PARIS -(Dow Jones)- U.S.-based video-game developer Electronic Arts Inc. ( ERTS) has sold its 14.8% stake in its French counterpart Ubisoft Entertainment SA (UBI.FR) for an undisclosed sum to investors it didn't identify..." Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=201007161303dowjonesdjonline000522&title=update-electronic-arts-sells-ubisoft-shares-ends-6-year-link#ixzz0tz0A8gLq

jjarvis92
jjarvis92

ubisoft is weak. good for you EA.

Timstuff
Timstuff

I'd abandon ship too after Ubisoft's E3 showing.

vivendidoom
vivendidoom

Okay, ubisoft did not fail at the press conference, they actually succeeded really well. And Ea has been around for awhile, they got famous of the Bushido blade series. To be quite honest without EA holding most shares, they dont have say so in gaming production anymore. Which frees Ubisoft. And EA made a good move cause they were just telling them what they wanted, not what was in the best interest of EA, or Ubisoft. So to be condescending to both companies shares ignorance and bias. Neither is better than the other, they both have made crappy games, and they both have made great games. Fan Scorching does not get one far in the constant heated debate of video games.

acsam12304
acsam12304

i think EA did this after they saw the big failure at the Ubi Soft Press Conference at E3

Slash_out
Slash_out

Too bad, EA is not my favorite developper. But Ubisoft is EVEN WORSE. With all their DRM stuff they lost all my respect. They deserve to be taken over by a more respectful company.

strayfies
strayfies

There's no way to look at that except a retreat from a hostile move. It's very unlikely this was anything but a coup that went awry, and I applaud Ubisoft for holding it together / smiling for the cameras after all was done. Betcha anything their CEOs are gonna have some champagne this weekend.

amaan4ever
amaan4ever

this will be another move cheaptivision will captalize on

zako94
zako94

something is going on .

somberfox
somberfox

Ubisoft got along fine for almost 20 years before EA bought a 20% stake, they'll get along fine afterwards. They don't need EA's money.

brosim1104
brosim1104

good newS??? hardly, since EA has a huge amount of money to support some moves Ubi made. anyway lets hope that ubi will remain that big!

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Yey! Seriously though, I'm glad to see this. Ubisoft is one of my favorite publisher/developers, and to have EA slowly moving in for the kill worried me. I feel like EA has changed some, and a lot of their titles seem to have more developmental freedom, like Dead Space, or Battlefield Bad Company series, so hopefully they'll remain that way.Activision seems to be switching places with EA it seems.

SporkFireXPS
SporkFireXPS

I just hope Activision doesn't start buying Ubisoft stock. Although, isn't Activision-Blizzard majority owned by some French media company?

reeree746
reeree746

It good that EA gave other companies some breathing room, but after seeing Ubisoft's line-up at E3,things just would have never worked out.

nephili232
nephili232

They took one look at Ubisoft's E3 fiasco and it was sell sell sell!

Tripleseed
Tripleseed

@fLaMbOaStiN: Brotherhood of Steel would be a faction in the Fallout universe, not a title for a new Assassin's Creed game. I believe what you are referring to is: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Also, Ubisoft never said that it was not going to make "another big Assassin's Creed game for a year or possibly two after the release of Brotherhood..." but instead, one of the producers on a team that works on the Assassin's Creed games has said that Ubisoft SHOULD not make another AC game for a couple of years because the series "needs a breather." I know the article you are referring to, you just happened to read it wrong. Source: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6268697.html?tag=result%3Btitle%3B1

fLaMbOaStiN
fLaMbOaStiN

Ubisoft said it wasn't gonna make another big Assassins Creed game for a year or possibly two after the release of Brotherhood of Steel; which might not even be a hit itself being it's not a stand-alone Assassins Creed (even if it looks hella kick ass.) Also Ubisoft just released their Splinter Cell game and probably won't be releasing another anytime soon.. What I'm trying to get at is EA itself is struggling.. Each month software and hardware sales plummet (imo because of a lack of innovating games) compared to last year.. EA probably figures now is the best time to sale Ubisoft's; the markets not getting any better and Ubisofts biggest hits for the next year or so are behind them for the most part.

tainted_lynx
tainted_lynx

"at least EA knows to let other companies grow and expand." I guess you forgot about Westwood and Pandemic studios. Should I bring up the Madden monopoly?

Inconnux
Inconnux

Sounds like EA needed the money

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

I'm once again happy with a move made by EA. It's nice to see someone in the industry essentially supporting the competitive market instead of trying to destroy it outright.

MacenKrace
MacenKrace

@ DarthEthong467 Let's see... AC had a much better story, a better gameplay and oh wait... I don't Crysis has the EA mark on it. My bad dood. I'm just saying that Ubisoft makes greater games than EA, and they decided to be eco-friendly... with online manuals to download, which I always wanted to possess.

DarthEthong467
DarthEthong467

@MacenKrace Why would you compare Assassin's Creed and Crysis? They're not even in the same genre.

RadView
RadView

Thank you, Game God !!

MacenKrace
MacenKrace

Ubisoft is way better than EA, I just hope this doesn't affect them too much... or AC for a matter of fact, cause it has a way better story than Crysis...

Decessus
Decessus

I wouldn't trust the French in a military conflict, but they sure do know how to make some good video games. ;)

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

Doubts about "No Assassins creed in 2011"? Hopefully this isn't a sign of something bad happening on the financial side of things. Ubisoft makes some of the best games right now

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

ok the beginning of the article says 6 years ago, they bought 20 percent. then they said they dumped the other 15 percent. so are they saying ea had dumped the other 5 percent? how? why? and well, who cares. at least EA knows to let other companies grow and expand. seems as if they enjoy competition. activision? haaha... they would rather swallow competition and milk it like kobayashi eats hot dogs at a competitive eating event.

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

Wouldnt it make more sense to keep those shears? EA just owning those shears probably made them a bit of cash.

svaubel
svaubel

Does this mean Ubi wont be as evil now?

gbrading
gbrading moderator

EA and Ubisoft are basically doing their own thing. I'm not surprised by this move.

Dan21278
Dan21278

I like the fact that Ubisoft is standing on it's on. Good luck

Biorges
Biorges

Shipwreck and the rats flee?

vashkey
vashkey

Can't really blame EA. Ubisoft is a much bigger company now, one too big for EA to simply absorb and the two companies don't seem to interact much.

runstalker
runstalker

It's not as if EA had any creative control/input whatsoever; they were merely along for the ride, one of dozens of 'strategic holdings' EA invests in across the globe. It's symbolically nice to see Ubisoft cut all ties with that particular investment relationship, however. They're doing well enough to absorb and divert the $122 million sell off.

robfield
robfield

EA made a smart decision to start buying up Ubi stock back in 2007. They had a good future ahead of them, but it was risky. Fortunately Ubi is able to stand on its own now and is unlikely to make a sell like that.