The grand battle between media conglomerate Vivendi and game developer/producer Ubisoft continues. Vivendi has been priming for a hostile take over of the French gaming giant since it took mobile game development and publishing house Gameloft, for itself. Ubisoft is eager to remain independent and has managed to score a small victory in this fight.
It's hard to imagine Ubisoft as the little guy in any sort of fight. The studio has been around for thirty years, bringing us Prince of Persia, Rayman, and the Assassin's Creed games, during their long career. The company has absorbed countless smaller studios and established themselves as a pillar of the gaming landscape. Ubisoft had managed to acquire 3.625 million shares in itself from the investment bank Bpifrance. This amounts to 3.2 percent of the company's total worth, a small but significant number.
For context, Vivendi has managed to squirrel away 22.8 percent of the gaming godfather's capital. If they are able to push that number above 30 then, by French law, bring the notion of a hostile take over to the table, leaving it in the hands of the investors as a whole.
Co-founder and CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot, has been fighting tooth and nail to maintain control of his company, supposing that the massive media monster doesn't understand the gaming industry and wouldn't be able to effectively manage the studio.
"If you're part of a conglomerate that doesn't understand what your industry is, how fast it's moving, or decisions you have to make at speed, they can limit your possibilities," said Guillemot during a recent press event. Vivendi, however, is eager to unite Ubisoft with Gameloft under their umbrella.
Gaming is an ever-changing environment. It's not uncommon to hear that one of your favourite studios is selling off some, or all of its assets. It's far more rare to see a studio with as much longevity and power come into this kind of danger. If Vivendi has their way, this could have an extremely profound effect on the game industry as a whole.