Electronic Arts' acquisition of a 20 per cent share in French publisher Ubisoft was not hostile, according to EA Europe boss Gerhard Florin - but the firm continues to fear a takeover, and has put a plan in place to resist any further moves.
Speaking with French newspaper La Tribune, Florin said that EA had actually had talks with Ubisoft about acquisitions and partnerships prior to the stock purchase, and denied that the American firm had any hostile intent.
"Everyone thinks that we never had talks with Ubisoft," he said. "We spoke to Ubisoft, Activision, Eidos, and a lot of other producers. We didn't only speak of acquisitions but also industrial partnerships."
His statement is surprising, since in the wake of the share purchase last month, Ubisoft executives denied having any communication with EA about the deal - with the company's board actually issuing a statement saying that "in the absence of information from Electronic Arts regarding its intentions, the latter's acquisition of 19.9 per cent of the groups capital is unsolicited and currently considered as hostile."
Florin clearly disagrees, telling La Tribune that "there wasn't the least bit hostility between us" and going on to explain that "we had the opportunity to buy a 20 percent stake in Ubisoft and we haven't asked for anything."
"That's not hostile," he concluded. "In our industry, one doesn't make hostile moves because our value lies with people."
Ubisoft chairman Yves Guillemot is clearly not hugely reassured by Florin's comments, however. Speaking on a French radio station on Friday, he said that the firm has now come up with a plan to protect itself from any further hostile actions on EA's part.
"All the strategies have been studied and we have a plan, which I cannot reveal, that will allow us to win in this matter," Guillemot told the France Info station. "That is to say to keep the creativity that constitutes Ubisoft's value today."
One widely circulated rumour suggests that Ubisoft may be merged with its mobile phone games subsidiary, GameLoft - which would combine the Guillemot family's stakes in both companies and result in a significantly larger shareholding in the surviving entity.