Vivendi increased its equity stake in Ubisoft and Gameloft to 10.39% and 10.20% respectively.
This is all part of a strategic vision of an operational convergence between Vivendi’s content and platforms on and Ubisoft’s and Gameloft’s productions in videogames.
According to the report, Vivendi is acting alone and is not in concert with a third party. Vivendi also has not concluded a temporary sale agreement regarding the Ubisoft and Gameloft shares or voting rights. Vivendi reserves the right to increase its stake in these two companies and possibly be represented on their board.
While we’re unsure how the increase might affect Gameloft, this could be troubling for Ubisoft who recently stated they will fight to remain an independent entity. It is unclear at this moment how they will fight to achieve this goal considering that they are a publically traded company.
Vivendi has had a long and strange history as a publisher, buying companies, merging, having companies move away from them and selling companies off when they become unprofitable. It’s hard to say what this might mean for Ubisoft and Gameloft if Vivendi decides to increase their stake even further; Vivendi may be desperately trying to remain relevant in an industry it has contributed fairly little to.
As a multimedia platform, it’s not surprising though. Ubisoft is one of the most profitable AAA companies in the industry with a strong lineup of reliable franchises. If Vivendi is looking to get a slice of the gaming industry pie, Ubisoft is a pretty safe bet.
At the end of the day, I doubt a full purchase would have any effect on Ubisoft as a game developer. While they have maintained a consistent level of quality in their games, it’s safe to say they haven’t had a wholly original idea in many years, relying heavily on the Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon and Far Cry series to fill the majority of their release schedule.
I don’t think Vivendi is looking to change that, only capitalize on it.