Ubisoft to buy back 4m shares as it fends off Vivendi takeover

Anonymous investment services provider called in to help complete program by December 29th, 2017

By James Batchelor.Published Thursday 5th October 2017, 7:55am GMT

Ubisoft will repurchase up to 4m of its own shares in order to delay a potential takeover from French media conglomerate Vivendi.

In an short statement to investors, the Assassin's Creed publisher said it had mandated an unnamed investment services provider to handle the share buyback program - something that was authorised at the firm's general meeting for shareholders last month.

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The aforementioned meeting saw shareholders supporting Yves Guillemot and his current strategy, highlighting the backing the CEO has in his ongoing fight against Vivendi's impending takeover bid. Vivendi currently holds 27% of Ubisoft's capital share and will be required by French law to make an offer it it gains 30%.

The share repurchasing program should stall this somewhat. Ubisoft is aiming to buy back up to 4m shares, equating to 10% of the firm's capital. These repurchased shares will then be cancelled - in this way, the stock is retired and cannot be purchased later by Vivendi or any other interested party.

The buyback begins today and should be concluded by December 29th.

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Vivendi has spent the past few years gradually increasing its grasp on Ubisoft, seemingly in order to purchase the publisher. It has already taken over another Guillemot family business: mobile games giant Gameloft.

Oddly, Bloomberg reports that in a recent AGM, the company claims it has not decided whether to make a bid for Ubisoft or simply sell the stock it has accrued.

We spoke to Yves Guillemot earlier this year about Vivendi's aggressive tactics.

"We live in a dangerous world," he told us. "There are challenges, and the best will remain. We are under attack, we are trying to fight against it. We think we are ready to fight against those problems."

Read article on GamesIndustry.biz