CEO: Ubisoft couldn't stop EA takeover

Stock of French publisher gains after Yves Guillemot says he'd sell for the "right price."


What do you do when your company has spent months in the takeover crosshairs of acquisition-hungry industry giant Electronic Arts?

In the case of Yves Guillemot, you shrug it off.

In a remarkable display of corporate sangfroid this week, the Ubisoft CEO admitted his company would be powerless to stop a hostile EA takeover--but that he wasn't very worried about it. "We are not safe from a hostile action from Electronic Arts, which it would be difficult to block if they make a genuinely interesting offer," Guillemot told the French newspaper Les Echos. "[But] We have a few elements allowing us not to be too nervous."

Among those protecting factors Guillemot cited was how the Paris-based publisher has "clearly demonstrated its value to industry players"--meaning any takeover bid would not come cheap. "I doubt that our shareholders could be won over by a cut price."

However, just because Ubisoft won't sell low doesn't mean it won't sell. "If somebody is interested in our competitive advantages and this person is willing to pay for those at their right price, then we will choose what is best for our shareholders and our employees," Guillemot told Les Echos.

Ubisoft employees who hold stock in the company were surely pleased by the results of Guillemot's comments. Rumors about a possible takeover boosted the company's share price, which rose 1.36 euros ($1.66) to close the day at 42.40 euros ($51.98).

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