According to the report, Vivendi holds 25.15 per cent stake in Ubisoft, granting the company 22.92 per cent voting rights. “Under French law, if Vivendi acquires more than 30% of Ubisoft’s stock, it is required to make an offer to buy the company,” reporter James Batchelor reveals.
Vivendi’s relationship with Ubisoft is further growing complicated, too. A six month plan declaration from Vivendi to Autorité des Marchés reveals that Vivendi may buy more shares if market conditions are ripe for the investment, but they are not necessarily planning on purchasing Ubisoft or initiating control of the company. However, they have requested Ubisoft to “reorganise its board of directors to ensure its own representation on the board is consistent with its position as a stakeholder.”
Even if Vivendi doesn’t necessarily plan to purchase Ubisoft during the first half of 2017, it still seems highly likely that the French media conglomerate will make a public tender offer as soon as their shares reach over 30 per cent. Once Vivendi acquired a 30 per cent controlling stake in Ubisoft’s sister company, Gameloft, Vivendi made an offer to acquire additional shares. With Vivendi owning over 60 per cent of Gameloft’s shares by June 2016, co-founders Michel Guillemot and Josh Closson sold their shares to Vivendi and gave the company over to the French conglomerate. And while Ubisoft may draw criticism from the gaming community at times, both Ubisoft’s founders and video game players at large are concerned that Vivendi will sweep in and wrestle control of the company away from the company’s leaders.
Although Vivendi claims that they won’t plan to do this any time soon, their growing hold on Ubisoft suggests another story. Check back as more news develops over the course of the end of 2016 and the start of 2017.