Ubisoft Slams Vivendi as It Buys Even More Shares

"We are undeterred by these actions..."


French media conglomerate Vivendi has purchased even more shares of Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft. The company announced that, on December 7, it bought more shares, increasing its stake to 25.15 percent; it now says it controls 22.92 percent of voting rights. This is up from 24.059 of share capital and 21.296 percent of voting rights in November.

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In its statement announcing the new investment, Vivendi said it is considering whether to buy more shares; this depends on "market conditions." The company added that it has no plans to make an offer to purchase Ubisoft outright or to acquire control of the company.

"Vivendi is hoping to build a fruitful cooperation with Ubisoft," company said.

The stakes are high for what could come next, it seems.

"If [Vivendi] manages to acquire a 30 percent stake in [Ubisoft], it'll be forced by French law to table a mandatory takeover bid and pursue a controlling stake," Gamasutra reported.

In September, it was believed that Vivendi might pursue representation on the Ubisoft board of directors, but this did not happen. The company said in its announcement this week that it continues to pursue a seat "consistent with its shareholder position."

At a shareholder meeting in September, Vivendi elected not to pursue a board seat--but it did cause some turbulence. Read GameSpot's previous coverage of the event to learn more.

Vivendi also broadly explained why it's buying up shares of Ubisoft.

"Vivendi's investment in Ubisoft's business sector is part of a strategic vision of operational convergence between Vivendi's content and platform and Ubisoft's productions in the field of video games," it said.

Vivendi, which once owned Activision Blizzard, acquired the mobile game developer Gameloft earlier this year. The company was founded by Michel Guillemot, the brother of Ubisoft founder Yves Guillemot.

Ubisoft has time and again spoken out against Vivendi's share purchases, which the company yet again affirmed in a statement to GameSpot today.

"This is another indication that Vivendi is continuing its ill-advised and value-destructive approach of attempting to take creeping control of companies like Ubisoft," a spokesperson for the company said. "As we've said previously, we are undeterred by these actions and remain focused on providing the best experiences to our players and fans, and to delivering long-term value for all of our shareholders."

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