Report: Vivendi Will Attempt Hostile Bid for Ubisoft This Year
Ubisoft is one of my favorite developer/publishers in the biz. It has given us great series such as Far Cry, both amazing and not-so-amazing Tom Clancy games, the Assassin’s Creed series, recent new IP such as Watch Dogs and For Honor, and even smaller gems such as Valiant Hearts. They are one of the biggest players in this industry. Don’t believe me? Look no further than Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands which continues to sell like hotcakes, and according to NPD is the best selling game at retail so far this year.
All of that being said, Ubisoft’s independence may be coming to an end sooner rather than later. As you may know, France’s media juggernaut Vivendi has been slowly but surely increasing its stake in the French game publisher, despite a strong resistance from Ubisoft, who categorized Vivendi’s tactics as hostile.
Now, according to a new report from Reuters, 2017 looks like it may be the stage where Vivendi steps up its acquisitions in multiple areas, including acquisitions in video games and advertising. According to sources “close to the matter,” Reuters says that it is expected advertising group Havas and Ubisoft are the company’s first targets in its expansion plans, as it looks to become a European media powerhouse, and to allay current investor concerns. According to the some of the same sources, Vivendi is also eying game company targets in China as well.
Last December, Vivendi increased its stake in Ubisoft to 25%, and gained nearly 23% of the voting rights. If the stake continues to increase and reaches 30%, by French law, Vivendi will have to offer to purchase Ubisoft. Now, Vivendi has repeatedly stated in the past that it doesn’t intend to undergo a hostile takeover of Ubisoft, which is what makes these reports even more interesting.
It’s worth noting that Vivendi has already completed a hostile take over of Gameloft in the past, which is run by the same Guillemot family related to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. As mentioned above, Ubisoft, particularly Yves Guillemot, has been fiercely against Vivendi’s potential takeover and its actions up until this point.
It’s not very often stuff like this happens in the industry, and at the moment I couldn’t even confidently tell what I think will happen next. I guess all we can do is wait and see.