Vivendi is a company with a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, though most recently it took a step back from the gaming industry when it sold its stake in Activision/Blizzard back to the publishing giant. However it soon set its sight on another large corporation: Ubisoft, and has been aggressively buying up shares in what looks like an attempt at a hostile takeover ever since.
The first buy up of shares it made last year netted Vivendi a six per cent stake in Ubisoft, but that was just the beginning. Since then its spent another $60 million (as per Eurogamer) which means it now owns a full 10 per cent of Ubisoft, including parts of its sister company Gameloft.
While companies like Vivendi regularly buy up shares of interesting firms that might benefit it in the future, Ubisoft is not pleased with this acquisition attempt. It released a statement saying that it considered the aggressive share buying as “unwelcome,” and that it would take steps to “preserve [its] independence.”
How do you think the characters would feel?
Vivendi is gunning hard for the French publisher though and in some cases is offering upwards of 50 per cent more per share than the going rate, which will be tempting for current stock holders to take advantage of. Since it now owns 30 per cent of Gameloft too, it must (by French law) make a takeover bid to achieve a controlling 51 per cent stake in the business.
It may be that Ubisoft appeals to share holders of its main business and Gameloft and requests that they not sell to Vivendi, but stock owners are not always known for their moral stances. If it can’t mount a defence though, Ubisoft may soon find Vivendi executives on its board of directors, which will give it further influence within the publisher’s ranks.
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KitGuru Says: Although Ubisoft is often put up there with the likes of EA as some of the least loved publishers, would you be happy to see a company like Vivendi gain a controlling share?