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Ubisoft Takes New Steps to Defend Against Vivendi Takeover

The two new independent directors will make it harder for Vivendi to control Ubisoft.


Ubisoft has nominated two new independent directors to help prevent media conglomerate Vivendi from taking control of the company. Vivendi is believed by Ubisoft to be in the process of staging a hostile takeover, as it has increased its stake gradually since October 2015. Vivendi's current stake is 20.1 percent, putting it in a position to get on the board of directors.

Ubisoft announced in a press release that Frederique Dame and Florence Naviner have been nominated as independent directors. If approved, this brings Ubisoft's total number up to five, as Laurence Hubert-Moy, Pascale Mounier, and Didier Crespel have all held spots for years. Independent director Estelle Metayer, is only on the board until the September 29 shareholders meeting, where Dame and Naviner would be approved.

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Independent directors are directors that have no material relationship with the company whose board they sit on. In February, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said he needed 50 percent or more of the vote to be against Vivendi making changes to its board of directors. With the appointment of more independent directors, it brings the total number of all directors up to 10, meeting the 50% quota Ubisoft is aiming for. This gives Vivendi less of a chance to control Ubisoft.

Ubisoft has worked towards preventing the "unsolicited and unwelcome" takeover for several months now. Ubisoft was seeking Canadian investors to help keep its independence, something that Guillemot feels allows innovation, risks, and the creation of its franchises.

Ubisoft's sister company, Gameloft, has already been taken over by Vivendi. Gameloft's ex-CEO Michel Guillemot left the company on June 29.

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