Rumours have been mounting for the past couple months about a potential Vivendi takeover of the French gaming giant Ubisoft. While Ubisoft itself gained a foothold in the mobile market recently by acquiring Ketchapp, Vivendi has held a strong grasp on Ubisoft’s stock, previously controlling 22.8% of Ubisoft’s stake. But a Nov 4th announcement reveals Vivendi holds 24.1% stake within the company, with voting rights at 21.3%.
Analyst Daniel Ahmad broke the news to the English-speaking gaming community on Nov 7th, reporting the change in voting stature and quipping that Ubisoft would soon be controlled by Vivendi. That potential outcome doesn’t seem to fall in line with Ubisoft’s long-term strategic goals. A translated news post from Reuters in Paris reveals that Ubisoft is “[determined] to remain independent” from Vivendi, despite the conglomerate holding the largest stake in the company to date. In other words, Vivendi’s recent advances are hardly appreciated, and the movement reeks of a growing attempt at a hostile takeover.
Too soon? pic.twitter.com/1mLTaGoKrZ
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) November 7, 2016
Stock market analysts aren’t shy about encouraging potential investors to buy Ubisoft stock, either. A report from Yahoo Finance on Ubisoft’s stock suggests their shares are ripe for acquiring, with the majority of market analysts encouraging a “buy” in one form or another. Although it seems unlikely that Vivendi will face any major competitors in a bid to take over Ubisoft, there’s very little in the way of preventing the media conglomerate from boosting their voting rights. Even the Guillemot family fails to compete with the corporation: The family only holds 13% of the company’s shares, as the Reuters report explains.
That doesn’t mean that Vivendi will inevitably face little competition, of course. But it does seem Ubisoft has a major crisis on their hands. Unlike CD Projekt, the company failed to plan in advance for their free floating stock. Vivendi’s purchases are, for better or for worse, the end result of that decision.