Ubisoft chief slams Vivendi share purchase

October 22, 2015 // 1:19 p.m.

Tags: #acquisition #assassins-creed #financial #gameloft #share-purchase #ubisoft #vivendo #yves-guillemot

Ubisoft has received investment from media giant Vivendi, but its boss is unimpressed with what he describes as an 'unsolicited and unwelcome' share purchase.

Ubisoft is one of the biggest names in games today, and the holder of some much-loved franchises - including Assassin's Creed, the latest entry in which launches this week on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows, with the usual day-one bugs and glitches for which the company is famed. Last week, Vivendi plonked down €140.3 million in exchange for 6.6 per cent of Ubisoft's stock, followed by a further investment this week to gain another 3.79 per cent - and rather than welcome the share purchase Ubisoft has gone on the offensive.

'Our intention is and has always been to remain independent, a value which, for 30 years, has allowed us to innovate, take risks, create beloved franchises for players around the world, and which has helped the company grow into the leader it is today,' Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot claimed in an internal memo obtained by GamesIndustry.biz this week. 'We're going to fight to preserve our independence. We should not let this situation - nor any future actions by Vivendi or others - distract us from our goals. Our best defence is to stay focused on what we have always done best - deliver the most original and memorable gaming experiences.'

The acquisition of existing shares in the company doesn't mark Vivendi's first toe in gaming industry waters, despite Guillemot claiming that a takeover would see Ubisoft 'managed by people who don't understand our expertise and what it takes to succeed in this industry.' The company was previously the owner of Activision-Blizzard, prior to which it ran an internal publishing house dubbed Vivendi Games, and has this month also invested in mobile gaming giant Gameloft.

Vivendi currently owns a 10.39 per cent stake in Ubisoft and a 10.2 per cent stake in Gameloft, and has stated that it 'reserves the right to increase its stake in these two companies depending on market conditions and the possibility, in due time, to be represented on their board.' It has not, however, addressed rumours that it may be looking to outright acquire the companies.
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