Tootle the Calamity Klaxon: Vivendi Now Owns 25% of Ubisoft's Shares

By Matt Wales on at

Sorry for ruining your Friday morning with dry talk of stocks, shares and cut-throat business shenanigans, but Vivendi has just announced that it now owns 25.15% of Ubisoft's shares. That puts it in spitting distance of the 30% threshold that, according to French law, would force the company to make a takeover bid.

As keen-eyed followers of corporate misadventure will no doubt be aware, Vivendi has been circling Ubisoft with predatory fervour for some time now. The makers of Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed, and other practically indistinguishable open-world icon-fests, meanwhile, have been doing their best to bat Vivendi away with a rolled up newspaper.

Vivendi, of course, sold its remaining stake in Activision Blizzard earlier this year for $1.1 billion. As such, its current gaming portfolio consists mostly of Gameloft mobile titles - and, lest we forget, Vivendi acquired that company from Ubisoft's Guillemot family following a hostile takeover bid earlier this year.

For its part, Vivendi insists that it has no intention of seizing control of Ubisoft, or of launching a public tender on the company, instead claiming that it merely intends to "build a fruitful cooperation with Ubisoft". It's hard to take Vivendi's claims of benevolence at face value, of course, especially as it continues to snaffle up Ubi shares hither and thither, but there's little to do but watch proceedings unfold.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has previously noted that the company would prefer to retain its current independence but, as a Plan B in the face of aggressive shares acquisition, would consider merging with another tech or games company to escape Vivendi's joy-gobbling maw.