Ubisoft to Vivendi: Come and Guillemot if You Think You're Hard Enough

By Matt Wales on at

It's the eternal battle between good and evil, just slightly condensed and with marginally fewer ramifications for the complete and utter annihilation of humanity. Who, we're forced to ask once more, can exert the greatest control over Ubisoft: Vivendi, or the Guillemot family? Today, the scales tip toward the latter. You can decide who wears the horns and who wears the wings.

Reuters is reporting that, despite Vivendi's ongoing and extremely concerted efforts to snap up a controlling stake in Ubisoft, the Guillemot family has now secured 13.6 per cent of Ubisoft's share capital, and 20.02 per cent of the company's voting rights.

Meaningful Graph #1

Vivendi — a Paris-based media conglomerate with its fingers in a variety of music, film, and television pies — purchased 6% of shares in Ubisoft and mobile game publisher Gameloft back in October 2015, quickly increasing that to 10% in a matter of days.

Since then, Vivendi and the Guillemot family have been involved in an increasingly tense tug-of-war, with Vivendi announcing last year that it had snaffled up 25.15% of shares in Ubisoft. That put it in spitting distance of the 30% threshold that, under French law, would force the company to make a takeover bid.

Meaningful graph #2

Since that announcement, Vivendi has raised its stake still further. It now controls 27 per cent of Ubisoft's share capital and 24.5 per cent of the voting rights.

Despite this, Vivendi has consistently stated that it has no intention of seizing control of Ubisoft, or of launching a public tender on the company — rather that it merely intends to "build a fruitful cooperation with Ubisoft." That, of course, would be far more believable if it hadn't already acquired Gameloft from the Guillemot family through means of a hostile takeover early last year.

We expect further news over the coming months. Meanwhile Yves stands atop the battlements, surveying the aftermath of the latest clash. Vivendi will be back, he knows. But the Guillemots will be waiting.