Vivendi increases Ubisoft stake to 24%
Media giant continues interest in Assassin's Creed publisher
French media giant Vivendi has increased its share capital in Ubisoft to 24 percent.It follows in the wake of Ubisoft's recent strong financial results. Vivendi has previously held a 23 percent stake in the business.
The company has been gradually increasing its holdings in the games publisher and it held just over 10 percent of the company 12 months ago. Vivendi says it now holds 21.29 percent of the voting rights.
Ubisoft has fiercely rejected the hostile move from Vivendi, with the Guillemot brothers increasing its own share in an effort to fight any takeover. Vivendi insists that a bid is not currently part of its plans, and it did not try to push its representatives onto Ubisoft's board at the company's recent shareholders meeting - as had been expected.
During that September meeting, Ubisoft successfully added two independent directors to the board and re-elected Yves and Gerard Guillemot. Ubisoft said it had received 'massive support' from its shareholders. However, several resolutions on the agenda had been rejected due to what Ubisoft called 'systematic abstention of Vivendi, impeding the proper running of the company, particularly regarding the competitive compensation policy for its talents'.
Yves said at the time that: "We won't relax until they sell their shares. The creeping control strategy implemented by Vivendi is dangerous. We think that there's a great risk of shareholders losing value."
It seems this caution was correct following this latest development. Vivendi feels Ubisoft should partner closely with Gameloft - a company that was also part owned by the Guillemot brothers and was taken via hostile means. That move was strongly contested by Gameloft management at the time, including CEO and brother of Ubisoft head Yves, Michel Guillemot, who said that the buyout was "against the best interests of Gameloft."