A Hostile Takeover Of Ubisoft Is Not In Vivendi's Plans For The Next Six Months
"We will remain vigilant about their long-term intentions," Ubisoft says.
The prospect of a hostile takeover of Ubisoft has been looming for more than two years now, ever since French media conglomerate Vivendi began acquiring an increasingly large share of the company. As part of its latest earnings report, Vivendi again said such a move is not in the cards--at least in the short term.
Vivendi announced today that it won't attempt a takeover of Vivendi for at least the next six months, Reuters reports. It currently controls a 26% stake in the game publisher and has attracted more than a few condemnations from Ubisoft executives, including CEO Yves Guillemot, whose family founded the company
In response to Vivendi's declaration, Ubisoft issued a statement of its own. "Ubisoft takes note of Vivendi's statement," a spokesperson told GameSpot. "We will remain vigilant about their long-term intentions and will continue to pursue our strategy of growth and value creation in the interest of all our shareholders."
Ubisoft and the Guillemots have spoken out numerous times against Vivendi's moves, saying a takeover would hamper the publisher's ability to innovate and be agile. From the start, Ubisoft has called Vivendi's acquisitions "unsolicited and unwelcome."
Ubisoft's share price has been on a fairly steady rise over the past five years. It has more than doubled since February and currently stands at 66.35 Euros. That's due in part to the potential for a takeover, but also because Ubisoft has done a solid job in executing its strategic shift to long-term support for a smaller number of games. It recently began a share buyback program as it seeks to fend off Vivendi--the latest in a series of moves meant to protect the company's independence.
Vivendi is the former owner of Activision. It declared early in 2016 that it had "no plans" for a Ubisoft takeover, although it did gain control of French mobile game company Gameloft, which had also been led by the Guillemot family. Its actions have suggested a takeover of Ubisoft is an eventual goal. Earlier this year, it was reported that Vivendi intended to make such a move by the end of 2017, although that no longer appears to be the case. Whether Ubisoft's rising share price played a part is unclear. We'll report back as the situation continues to develop.