Vivendi Increases Stake in Ubisoft, Amidst Takeover Fears

Vivendi's increased stake results in Ubisoft's shares rising.

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Despite assurances it has no plans to take over Ubisoft, French media conglomerate Vivendi has increased the amount of shares it owns in the Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and The Division publisher.

In October 2015, Vivendi purchased a 6.6 percent stake in Ubisoft, before raising it to 10 percent in February 2016, and then 18 percent in April, 2016. Bloomberg reports Vivendi now holds 20.1 percent stake in Ubisoft, and is considering acquiring more shares.

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Vivendi chief executive Vincent Bollore has said he aims to develop a "fruitful cooperation" with Ubisoft, and added that he isn't considering an offer to purchase some or all of the remaining shares, thus taking control of the company, for the next six months.

Vivendi's increase in stake ownership has resulted in a rise in Ubisoft shares. The publisher now has a market value of $4.2 billion on France's SBF120 Index. Vivendi's market value, meanwhile, also increased by 3.4 percent.

In April, Vivendi gained majority control of mobile publisher Gameloft, which was run by Michel Guillemot, brother of Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot. Following the acquisition, the Guillemot family said it will sell its remaining control to Vivendi.

Analysts believe that Vivendi's acquisition of Gameloft is part of a larger plan to buy Ubisoft. It is believed the Guillemots are currently working with financial advisers to build a defence plan against a potential takeover attempt from Vivendi.

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Avatar image for Bobdog52
Bobdog52

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Well if so then who is next after Ubisoft ?

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Avatar image for xzerocarnagex
XzerocarnageX

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I hate vivendi, aggressive and hostile takeovers. I have enjoyed Ubisoft games for many decades and I do not see what good that would come from vivendi owning Ubisoft. Ubisoft are independent and should remain this way. Vivendi screw up everything they touch. We would end up seeing more microtransactions in our Ubisoft games, we would end up seeing more of an aggressive business from vivendi designed to leech money out out of us at every angle. Nothing good can come from this..

I will not buy Ubisoft games if they are taken over and it will be a shame because they have my fav franchise in way of Tom Clancy games.

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Avatar image for xzerocarnagex
XzerocarnageX

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I hate vivendi, aggressive and hostile takeovers. I have enjoyed Ubisoft games for many decades and I do not see what good that would come from vivendi owning Ubisoft. Ubisoft are independent and should remain this way. Vivendi screw up everything they touch. We would end up seeing more microtransactions in our Ubisoft games, we would end up seeing more of an aggressive business from vivendi designed to leech money out out of us at every angle. Nothing good can come from this..

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freeformrulz

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Bunch of French idiots that work at ubisoft don't even realize Wtf is going on

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Avatar image for azi
azi

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Ubisoft has been keeping me happy since 2003 with Rainbow six 3 and ghost recon in the first person days.

they like to rinse and repeat but they're capable of some fantastic games.

The industry need Ubisoft and their employees.

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DivineJester

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I dont get why Viviendi sold off Blizzard to now start buying Ubisoft? I thought they wanted out of the gaming business, otherwise it makes on sense to sell arguably the biggest titan in gaming.

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Avatar image for xzerocarnagex
XzerocarnageX

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@divinejester: blizzard broke free, they had no choice but to sell. Vivendi are well known for hostile and aggressive takeovers.

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Skullkid_IX

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@divinejester: During the blizzard "takeover" they ran out of money and had a massive dept to pay and was forced to sell or they would have bankrupted themselves.

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RoyialNetwork

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I don't get people cheering for the death of Ubisoft or crying at the death of them at shaming the other people.

What would be interesting is to have Viviendi take over, Ubisoft has talent leave, and they get fresh talent, maybe the games get better maybe they get worse, i'd like to see it after ubi doing the same thing for so long, and i don't think anyone at Ubi will have issues getting jobs else where.

Guess i'm middle of the ground on the whole thing, mainly i'd like to just see Ubisoft get some fresh ideas maybe the take over of Vivendi achieves this, it'll be interesting either way. If not hopefully this will be enough for Ubi to stop with their awful business practices, they were great once, id like to see them like that again.

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rmiller365

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Edited By rmiller365

I hope ubisoft doesn't get taken over. Sure they have been releasing yearly games but they still sell. Thats the thing.. You can't bastardize a company that continues to produce content that still sells. That's why they exist in the first place.

They are also taking a risk with a cool new concept in For Honor.

Vivendi is best known for terrible movie games and running Spyro and Crash bandicoot IPs into the ground.

I'll take the option to not buy a yearly release and get something fresh and new over another "mummy returns" game any day.

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ECH71

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Yeeesss! Do it! Do it!

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Redsyrup

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I'm not a Ubisoft fan but this is terrible news for the gaming industry. If this goes through it will devastate the company. For all those who can't remember Acclaim, Data East, Hudson etc. on occasion produced great games.

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cilvar

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Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuurn Ubi. Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

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suicidesn0wman

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Edited By suicidesn0wman

For all those who think things wont get worse after Vivendi takes over Ubi, all of the top developers who work for Ubi have already pledged to leave the company if Vivendi takes over. The drop off in quality will be seen immediately, Ubi will lose money, Vivendi will jump from the sinking ship, and 10,000 people will be looking for work.

This could end up a disaster that creates waves through the entire industry.

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datriax

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@suicidesn0wman: Oh no. Gaming will surely never be the same without a soulless company releasing its fodder every year. Game market crash incoming without Ubi.

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Avatar image for xzerocarnagex
XzerocarnageX

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@datriax: if you was any kind of real gamer, you wouldn't be wishing for any of this. Every developer out there has had some positive impact on the industry, shaping and curving the way gaming has moved forward. Then there's all the jobs that would be losses, either by people leaving or vivendi making changes, family's in trouble for a while. You hateful gamers should be ashamed and your the ecumenical part of the gamers who pick up a pad n that's about it cuz most of your ideas are just fanboy moronaic comments.

The idea of a company which behaves as aggressive as vivendi do and makes hostile takeovers would have an impact on the industry, whether you think it will or won't. Ubisoft games sell whether you buy them or not, hate on them or not.

Answer this put yourself in ubisofts shoes, say you owned it, it has take decades to develop the quality games that sell like they do, no not all are brilliant but they do have some gems. Would you like someone coming in and taking control of your life, let's say you had a car and someone came and took it off you and you had no way to keep it, you knew you needed it and it took God knows how long for you to obtain it.

People seriously need to think before making stupid statements and think about the affects which would only be negative from aggressive and hostile takeovers.

Vivendi would also put there aggressive business models in place and while you mite not buy games of Ubisoft others do and fans of Ubisoft games would only be left more out of pocket for games that are out now a.d games to come in the future.

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suicidesn0wman

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@datriax: May your ill will towards others come back at you ten-fold.

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Barighm

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@suicidesn0wman: Actually, you're the one wishing for ill-will, thus it will come back at you. He's just saying it won't make that big a difference, so who cares.

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suicidesn0wman

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@Barighm: I'm not the one "celebrating until they are erased" over here. I'd like to see Ubisoft continue to make the games that I've been enjoying for the past 20 years, and to see their 10,000 employees continue to have the freedom to make the games they want to.

Read datriax's comment a little further below about 'celebrating the death of a company'.

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XzerocarnageX

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@suicidesn0wman: agreed..

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@lonesamurai1: Why do you assume people are going to lose their jobs?

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REDShadowG

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Well, I guess we will be saying rest in peace Ubisoft by 2018.

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cornbredx

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Vivendi is full of dirty business suit assholes. This is a pretty scary thing for Ubisoft. They'll end up having to do the same thing Activision did to get them to **** off. I bet that's been Vivendi's plan all along. It's perfectly legal but incredibly shady. But... that's business.

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datriax

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@cornbredx: Normally, I would agree, but this is Ubi, and it's never looked so good. I will surely raise a toast when they eventually get driven into the dirt by Vivendi. Long overdue.

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Thanatos2k

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@zero_juice: I'm confused. Why does a takeover from Vivendi instantly cause everyone to lose their jobs? Do you think Vivendi will immediately destroy the company? The one they just bought? Does anyone even understand why one company buys another?

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Avatar image for xzerocarnagex
XzerocarnageX

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@Thanatos2k: restructering in there own ways, would result in job losses, people no longer happy within there job because the freedom ubisoft employees had goes. Vivendi would come in and 're seance so much stuff in there own way, force there aggressive tactics on gamers from Microsoft and other transaction types towards fans who buy there games. Nothing good can come from this and anyone wishing I'll will on ubisoft or any dev should be ashamed to even think they are a real gamer. So you pick up a pad, but any real gamer appreciates that every dev out there has had some positive affect on the industry.

What example does this also set to if this goes ahead, it leaves the industry open to more aggressive hostile takeovers and others will attempt it to. I hope it never happens to a developer you enjoy, you will see the frustration many Ubisoft fans will be having as well as all those who end up having to leave Ubisoft when it was there way of life for so long.

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cornbredx

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@Thanatos2k: A lot people's complaints about this are just mimics. They see others that know it's not a good thing say so, but they don't actually know why.

Vivendi has a history of hostile take overs. They did this with several companies including Activision who were able to pay them to **** off because they turned over several profitable franchises (and good on them for it even if I don't like some of their games).

Vivendi is the reason Sierra now belongs to Activision as far as I recall, fun fact. Vivendi took over Sierra I think before Activision. Technically Sierra no longer exists, much like Atari. It's a shell of what it used to be now although the way Activision is handling it could be cool unlike the company that calls itself Atari now a days (I forget what company it is that bought Atari out last and changed it's name to Atari because their brand went down the toilet).

Vivendi aren't even particularly profitable on their own (or, they weren't last I really paid attention to them). Last time I paid attention to them they were hugely in debt. I don't know this for a fact, but it's possible after Activision bought it's freedom back that may have saved Vivendi. I suspect also this is why they are turning around to Ubisoft now. They seem to look for successful companies and then latch onto them. For good or bad. I guess in the case of Activision it actually worked out quite well for them, and now they want to do it again with Ubisoft. I honestly don't remember, though, what they impose when they do take over. Historically looking back from the outside it didn't seem to work out that badly for them or Activision all things considered. Sierra did close down, but that may not have been because of Vivendi- I really don't remember.

Vivendi is a European media conglomerate and what this could mean for Ubisoft is they will be refocused to make games to synergize with Vivendi's existing properties (whatever those are). Granted that's just speculation at this point. Who knows what they want from Ubisoft at this point. They certainly won't be helping Ubisoft in any case, and in some ways the way the buy out of Gameloft was positioned it sometimes almost comes off personal. If you think them making Assassin's Creed every year is bad (which isn't all they make, but that's what people like to whine about) just wait until that happens. Or you won't notice because Ubisoft won't be making games you care about anymore. Who knows.

But it also seems a little underhanded to me. It could be that Yves actually wants Vivendi to buy them out, but on the surface is saying otherwise. This creates a narrative of the evil buy out and gives some amount of interest and good grace back to the company for people who care about such things. Maybe it's profitable for them to create that narrative. That seems like a silly thing, but anything is possible.

For the record I don't think that last thing is true. It's just a really weird thing going on between Vivendi and Ubisoft right now and I wouldn't put it past them to secretly be on board with what is happening.

Wow, I said a lot. My point is that I don't particularly care for what Vivendi has done in the past. They certainly are not out to help Ubisoft, but who knows, maybe they'll just leech off of them, but impose nothing further. Or maybe this is Ubisoft's plan all along since they want to start branching out and create synergies with movies. All of these and more are possible outcomes.

That all being said. Most of these comments are coming from the fact that so many are asking for Vivendi to kill Ubisoft. I think that's completely uncalled for. Ask Ubisoft to change, sure, but wishing for the death of a company because you don't like some of the choices they make, or your upset about their mistakes, is very childish and self serving. It doesn't actually benefit anyone.

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Johnnyboy787

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Ubisoft has become shit this gen, Vivendi needs to take over a kill ubisoft.

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Suaron_x

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@johnnyboy787: I doubt Vivendi has any plans to dismantle Ubisoft as they sold their stake in Activision-Blizzard. They probably believes they could turn Ubisoft into another cash cow like Activision-Blizzard, then sell Ubisoft and move on to another publisher.

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derceto

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Hey, karma. Had to come back and bite one of the shittiest companies in gaming right in the ass sooner or later. All I ask is that Vivendi hurries the hell up. This is actually overdue. If it were possible, I'd love to see EA and WB go with them.

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Saladudo

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Vivendi, Facebook, Disney and Google all together playing Monopoly Most Evil Edition.

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datriax

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Sweet. It's about due time Ubisoft takes in the ass for a change. ROFL Looks good on you Ubi!

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deactivated-5a803cda1fb41

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They both deserve each other, besides it isn't like Ubisoft can get much worse than it already is.

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cornbredx

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@bernard978: You're wrong. It totally can, and under Vivendi it will.

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