For months now there have been rumors, based on some pretty solid evidence, that Vivendi was attempting a hostile takeover of Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs developer Ubisoft. Vivendi had previously executed a successful takeover of mobile studio Gameloft, and seemed to set its sights on Ubisoft shortly afterward. The attempt has been fought by Ubisoft founders, the Guillemot family, but today Vivendi announced that they have acquired 25% of the company, along with 23% of the voting rights. This is a massive increase from around 10% that they owned in 2015.
This still isn’t enough for Vivendi to take full control of Ubisoft, but it is getting closer with each passing month. What will be the big moment is if Vivendi attains 30% ownership of stock, which will trigger a French law that requires them to begin a possible takeover of the company. The Guillemots have been fighting against this for a while, but their efforts aren’t stopping Vivendi just yet.
For their part, Vivendi has laid out their plans going forward, not explicitly stating that they wish to take over the company, but the objective does seem clear. They say they are “considering continuing to acquire shares depending on market conditions” and that “Vivendi is hoping to build a fruitful cooperation with Ubisoft.” They also say they continue “to seek a recomposition of the Ubisoft Board of Directors in order to, among other things, obtain Board representation consistent with its shareholder position.”
If Vivendi truly is taking over Ubisoft it looks like the action might be complete in the next few months. What a Vivendi takeover might look like is anyone’s guess at this point. Ubisoft has shifted gears as of late, putting more focus on quality game titles over annualized sequels. This policy could come into question with a new owner, though to the outside world everything might just remain the exact same.