Yesterday, Vivendi announced that it had divested itself of its final holdings in Ubisoft, which finally brings to an end a protracted takeover saga that dates back to 2015. The final stock sale amounted to 5.9 per cent according to Reuters (via Gamasutra), with a sale value of €429m (£369m).
“Vivendi is no longer a Ubisoft shareholder and maintains its commitment to refrain from purchasing Ubisoft shares for a period of five years,” Vivendi said in a statement.
At the height of its ambitions to takeover Ubisoft, Vivendi held almost a 30 per cent stake in the company, the line at which a hostile takeover would have been triggered, and a stake far in excess of what the five Guillemot founders held at the time.
Ubisoft had always resisted Vivendi’s attentions, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot described Vivendi's advances as "unsolicited and unwelcome" but the tussle carried on until March of last year when Viviendi finally gave up, just as Tencent entered, taking a five per cent stake in Ubisoft.
It’s not all bad news for Vivendi though, which did takeover and still runs the once Ubisoft-controlled Gameloft, plus the fact that it sold its Ubisoft shares for €2bn, a gain of €1.2bn from when it bought them.
Tencent’s interest in Ubisoft looks to cement the control of the Guillemots for years to come, the company having shown no desire to take control of any western company it invests in. And it also gives Ubisoft a strong partner for expansion into China.
Ubisoft’s CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot commented previously: “The evolution in our shareholding is great news for Ubisoft. It was made possible thanks to the outstanding execution of our strategy and the decisive support of Ubisoft talents, players and shareholders. I would like to warmly thank them all. The investment from new long-term shareholders in Ubisoft demonstrates their trust in our future value creation potential, and Ubisoft’s share buy-back will be accretive to all shareholders. Finally, the new strategic partnership agreement we signed will enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential.”