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Vivendi stake in Ubisoft passes 25%, increasing takeover threat

French media company needs to acquire 30% of publisher's stock before it can offer to buy the company

Vivendi's plan to take over Watch Dogs publisher Ubisoft are gaining momentum as the firm has revealed its stake now exceeds 25%.

VentureBeat reports the media firm now holds 25.15% of Ubisoft's shares, and 22.92% of its voting rights. Under French law, if Vivendi acquires more than 30% of Ubisoft's stock, it is required to make an offer to buy the company.

Towards the end of 2015, Vivendi just held a 10% stake in Ubisoft. This was increased to 20% in June, and 24% last month.

Vivendi has today filed a declaration with French securities regulator Autorité des Marchés announcing its intentions for the next six months. The company has said it is considering the acquisition of more shares depending on market conditions, but reportedly is not planning to launch an offer to buy Ubisoft or take control of the company.

Vivendi is still requesting Ubisoft to reorganise its board of directors to ensure its own representation on the board is consistent with its position as a stakeholder, and claims it wants to co-operate with the Ubisoft team.

However, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot is convinced that Vivendi plans to acquire control of his company following the hostile takeover of Gameloft - also run by the Guillemot family - earlier this year. The head of Ubisoft says he will fight to preserve the publisher's independence, insisting the company won't rest until Vivendi sells off all its shares.

Last month, Ubisoft's developers said they "can't live with the threat" of a Vivendi takeover.

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was