The ongoing Vivendi-Ubisoft saga won't be resolved for some time yet, but at least it will be put on pause. In announcing its quarterly results today, Vivendi also provided an update on the situation and the ongoing speculation that its acquisition of Ubisoft shares has been a prelude to a hostile takeover attempt.
At last count, Vivendi owned nearly 27% of Ubisoft shares, and under French law is required to make an acquisition offer if that total passes 30%. Next week, Vivendi will be granted double voting rights on some of its Ubisoft shares, which had been expected to push company's ownership above the 30% threshold. With that in mind, Vivendi today said that for the next six months, it has no intention of trying to acquire control of Ubisoft, and "will ensure that its interest in Ubisoft will not exceed the threshold of 30% through the doubling of its voting rights."
Additionally, Vivendi said for the same time period, it will not look to place any of its own representatives on Ubisoft's board of directors "in view of the opposition expressed by Ubisoft's executive management." Ubisoft typically appoints and renews its directors at its Annual General Meeting, which must take place within six months of the March 31 completion of its fiscal year. For the last three years, the AGM has been held in September, which would put it well outside Vivendi's six-month non-interference window.
Vivendi has also made clear that its interest in getting back into the gaming business (it essentially let Activision Blizzard buy itself back from the company in 2013) is unchanged.
"The current unrealized capital gain on the Ubisoft investment is more than €1 billion," Vivendi noted in its earnings report. "Given that this sector is the second largest in the content industry after music, the Group confirms its intention to continue to develop in this sector."
For its part, Ubisoft sent the following response to GamesIndustry.biz today: "Ubisoft takes note of Vivendi's statement. We will remain vigilant about their long-term intentions and will continue to pursue our strategy of growth and value creation in the interest of all our shareholders."