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Former Activision Owner Vivendi Buys Stakes in Ubisoft and Gameloft

Both companies say they will "remain independent."


Vivendi, the French media conglomerate that two years ago sold its controlling stake in Activision Blizzard, has returned to the games business by purchasing shares in two publishers.

As detailed by The Washington Post, Vivendi has purchased a 6.6 percent stake in Ubisoft for 140 million euros, and spent an additional 20 million euros to acquire a 6.2 percent holding in Gameloft. The acquisitions have resulted in a 14 percent rise in share prices for Ubisoft, while Gameloft's share value increased by 17 percent.

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In July 2013, Vivendi sold its 85 percent stake in Activision Blizzard for more than $8 billion, with the corporation claiming at the time that it wanted to focus on the TV and music portions of its business. There were some signs of tension within the executive circle at the company.

Court filings revealed that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was nearly fired during the purchase of Activision-Blizzard from Vivendi. This was reportedly due to his refusal to approve any sale of Vivendi’s shares that didn’t include his investment group.

“I really wonder who’s going to fire him,” Vivendi’s former chief executive Jean-Francois Dubos asked in an email at the time.

“Myself, happily. Tomorrow if you want,” responded Philippe Capron, Vivendi’s then chief financial officer and Activision chairman.

In a statements released by Ubisoft and Gameloft, both have expressed an intention to "remain independent."

Ubisoft's upcoming slate of video game releases includes Assassin's Creed Syndicate and Rainbow Six Siege. It recently revealed Far Cry Primal, a spin-off that takes its first-person shooter series to the Stone Age. On October 14, the Assassin's Creed movie began production and is due for release on December 21, 2016.

Gameloft, meanwhile, publishes mobile titles based on properties such as CSI and Ice Age. The company was founded by Michael Guillemot, who is also co-founder of Ubisoft.

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