Guillemots up ownership of Ubisoft to fend off Vivendi

Guillemots up ownership of Ubisoft to fend off Vivendi
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

September 6th 2016 at 11:20AM

Family including publisher’s CEO Yves and former Gameloft head Michel pay $161m for an extra 3.5 per cent

Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs and The Division developer-publisher Ubisoft is bulking up its defences in an attempt to remain independent.

The games giant has been fending off a hostile takeover from Vivendi, which has intensified in the last 12 months as the aggressive conglomerate has repeatedly upped its stake in both Ubisoft and Gameloft – both owned by the Guillemot family.

While Ubisoft has held on despite Vivendi now holding more than a fifth of the firm, Gameloft was ultimately taken over in June, leading founder Michel Guillemot to quit.

Michel has since been helping his brother Yves, CEO of Ubisoft, to maintain control of the company. According to Bloomberg, the Guillemot family’s latest effort has been to buy an additional four million shares in Ubisoft – worth approximately $161 million – to acquire an extra 3.5 per cent of the company.

At the end of July, the Guillemots owned nine per cent of Ubisoft’s capital and 15 per cent of its voting rights, making the boosted figure vital as they prepare to get investors on-side by the firm’s shareholder meeting at the end of September.

Vivendi has reportedly said that it has requested seats on Ubisoft’s board but will not attempt an active takeover of Ubisoft for another six months, pledging “fruitful cooperation” with the seemingly unconvinced Guillemots.