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Vivendi ups stake in Ubisoft to 20.1 percent, edges toward takeover

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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With its acquisition of mobile studio Gameloft all but complete, French media conglomerate Vivendi has upped its stake in Ubisoft to 20.1 percent.

Vivendi has made clear its plans to unite French game companies Gameloft and Ubisoft under one banner, and following its hostile takeover of Gameloft earlier this year it was assumed the Assassin’s Creed creator would be next.

If Vivendi manages to increase its stake in Ubisoft to 30 percent, French law dictates that the media group must table a mandatory takeover bid.

Vivendi, however, insists it doesn’t plan on doing that, despite admitting it will continue to purchase shares based on market conditions.

"Vivendi is not considering the launch of a public tender on Ubisoft nor acquiring the control of the company; [although we are] considering continuing to acquire shares depending on market conditions." read a company statement.

Both Ubisoft and Gameloft were founded by the Guillemot family, who have spoken out on more than one occasion against Vivendi's unsolicited advances.

"The family maintains that Vivendi's hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams,” said the family in the wake of the Gameloft takeover.

While on stage at this year's E3, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot gave an impassioned speech about the importance of creative independence, and though he didn't mention Vivendi by name, it's apparent he's firmly against the company's very public pursuit of his studio.

"I love video games because the real innovation and magic comes when our teams and players are free to create," explained Guillemot.

"Free to innovate. Free to express themselves. Free to take risks and have fun. That’s what got us here today, and that's what will drive us for another thirty years and beyond."

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/...ver.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
 
I just don't see a scenario where they don't end up owning Ubisoft. They have the money to do it and Ubisoft never had enough growth to make them unobtainable even with various anti-takeover efforts.

I feel that Ubisoft has also not made a successful argument for why Vivendi owning Ubisoft is going to be a problem. The talent exodus feels like a hollow threat given these people need jobs and we don't see actual development staff saying they're going to participate in one.
 

Ricker

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Dec 27, 2007
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Will this be a good or bad thing though...? will they keep the Ubi studios in Montreal lets say and all that...? will they cancel Assassin's Creed or Wildlands or For Honor ?..not sure what to think about this.
 

cw_sasuke

If all DLC came tied to $13 figurines, I'd consider all DLC to be free
Sep 9, 2006
27,409
3
0
Just Dance NX will save them...or maybe not.
 
Will this a be a good or bad thing though...? will they keep the Ubi studios in Montreal lets say and all that...? will they cancel Assassin's Creed or Wildlands or For Honor ?..not sure what to think about this.
Vivendi owned Blizzard throughout most of their existence, and Activision through their rise to mega-success, and those are both nigh-entirely U.S. based companies. They'd be more than happy to have international studios.
 

Patryn

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Dec 4, 2007
19,280
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Something obvious that I have missed: Why is Vivendi getting back in the gaming business? What is the difference between when they split from Activision and now?
 

Sinatar

Official GAF Bottom Feeder
Jun 7, 2004
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Will this a be a good or bad thing though...? will they keep the Ubi studios in Montreal lets say and all that...? will they cancel Assassin's Creed or Wildlands or For Honor ?..not sure what to think about this.

Vivendi is buying them in hopes of making money, cancelling the games that are going to make said money wouldn't make any sense.
 

Eusis

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Apr 15, 2011
36,666
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705
Will this a be a good or bad thing though...? will they keep the Ubi studios in Montreal lets say and all that...? will they cancel Assassin's Creed or Wildlands or For Honor ?..not sure what to think about this.
Business as usual initially, I don't expect anything so dramatic to happen. After a year or two however? Yeah, should be interesting to watch, even if it's a morbid sort of interest.
 
Something obvious that I have missed: Why is Vivendi getting back in the gaming business? What is the difference between when they split from Activision and now?

Jean-Marie Messier kind of ruined them with his "vision" (which was a good one, just 10 years too early). It's very interesting to note that Vicent Bolloré is prety much following in Messier's footsteps
 

GhostTrick

Banned
Jan 11, 2012
16,576
13
0
Jean-Marie Messier kind of ruined them with his "vision" (which was a good one, just 10 years too early). It's very interesting to note that Vicent Bolloré is prety much following in Messier's footsteps



Ubisoft to become the next Canal Plus :")
Sorry guys, you can kiss Ubisoft goodbye if it happens.


I'll be OK with this if it means we'll get another Prince of Persia.



hahaha :")
 
Business as usual initially, I don't expect anything so dramatic to happen. After a year or two however? Yeah, should be interesting to watch, even if it's a morbid sort of interest.

I'm not expecting much change even then honestly.

Ubisoft's main problem was they had really poor digital revenue. Now the vast majority of what they make are digital heavy online games, which is exactly what Vivendi would want them to do.
 

Beartruck

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Nintendo needs to buy a stake in them. Ubisoft is one of Nintendo's most reliable 3rd party publishers, and with how profit hungry Vivendi is, that won't last long.
 
What I really don't understand with Gameloft's and Ubisoft's moves is that is goes against what Bolloré (and Vivendi in general) aim for when taking a stake in a company. They want to get to 20% but never own them outright. This was their strategy in the telecom space so seeing them acting very agressively against a fellow french company after the Canal+ debacle is prety surprising (as a note, after Vivendi purchased Canal +, the group lost more than 120k subscribers).
 

Drencrom

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Aug 17, 2011
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What happens if Ubisoft buys stake in Vivendi and becomes the majority stakeholder?

Edit: Should've made it more clear I was joking...
 

Kill3r7

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Jun 19, 2014
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What happens if Ubisoft buys stake in Vivendi and becomes the majority stakeholder?

Ubi does not have that kind of money. If they did they could prevent the hostile takeover by buying back control of the company.
 

Jackano

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Jan 19, 2006
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Something obvious that I have missed: Why is Vivendi getting back in the gaming business? What is the difference between when they split from Activision and now?
Media convergence. They also needed the money at some point.

They also have a whooping 96% of Gameloft since their hostile takeover. Guillemot sold them their Gameloft shares (like everyone else) to buy more Ubi ones.

So will it be called Ubiloft or Gamesoft?

Vivubi.
 
May 15, 2005
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Ubisoft represents some of the more cynical aspects of gaming but all in all, their output throughout their history has been impressive.

I think I speak for most when I say: fuck off, Vivendi.
 

JayEH

Junior Member
Dec 3, 2013
20,542
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What happens if Ubisoft buys stake in Vivendi and becomes the majority stakeholder?

The company that is having trouble fending of the bigger company will somehow buy majority of shares in the bigger company?
 

dragonflys545

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Jul 15, 2008
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What can Vivendi possibly do that can destroy them? I mean their games already have micro-transactions, and DLC expansion packs as well as those deluxe edition, gold editions they love pooping out for every single games they release. Most of their older titles put a sour taste in my mouth.
 
Nov 6, 2013
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What can Vivendi possibly do that can destroy them? I mean their games already have micro-transactions, and DLC expansion packs as well as those deluxe edition, gold editions they love pooping out for every single games they release.
They could shut down studios and focus on just a few IP.
 

Thraktor

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Dec 29, 2004
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Nintendo needs to buy a stake in them. Ubisoft is one of Nintendo's most reliable 3rd party publishers, and with how profit hungry Vivendi is, that won't last long.

I was actually wondering about that, if Nintendo would buy a large enough stake to keep Guillemot in charge in exchange for guaranteed long-term support for their consoles. The issue is that, according to the Financial Times, the Guillemots own just 8.7% of the company, with 15% of the voting rights. With a current market cap of €3.7 billion, Nintendo would need to spend €1.3 billion / $1.5 billion (or more likely quite a bit more, as share prices will be pushed up in a bidding war like this) in order to buy enough shares for Nintendo+Guillemots to have a 51% controlling stake. They have the cash for an acquisition like that, but it's a hell of a lot of money to drop on a bit of western third party support.
 

Crawl

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Jun 6, 2012
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Why does vivendi want to own game companies again? Weren't they looking to sell activision before activision bought back their company?

I dont get it, console game companies aren't** the greatest investment from a making money long term standpoint.
 

Spring Drive

Banned
Aug 11, 2015
2,143
0
0
Why does vivendi want to own game companies again? Weren't they looking to sell activision before activision bought back their company?

I dont get it, console game companies are the greatest investment from a making money long term standpoint.

They were in debt and had a different management back then
 

jett

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Jun 6, 2004
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I doubt this will end up being a big deal overall.

I wonder if the Guillemots will stick around once this is over. Frankly they can go screw themselves.
 

Kill3r7

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Jun 19, 2014
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I was actually wondering about that, if Nintendo would buy a large enough stake to keep Guillemot in charge in exchange for guaranteed long-term support for their consoles. The issue is that, according to the Financial Times, the Guillemots own just 8.7% of the company, with 15% of the voting rights. With a current market cap of €3.7 billion, Nintendo would need to spend €1.3 billion / $1.5 billion (or more likely quite a bit more, as share prices will be pushed up in a bidding war like this) in order to buy enough shares for Nintendo+Guillemots to have a 51% controlling stake. They have the cash for an acquisition like that, but it's a hell of a lot of money to drop on a bit of western third party support.

I think if it was EA it would be a no brainer. Much more difficult to asses Ubi's worth to Nintendo.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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I doubt this will end up being a big deal overall.

I wonder if the Guillemots will stick around once this is over. Frankly they can go screw themselves.

What beef do you have with the Guillemot family?

And no, I don't expect they will stick around if/when Vivendi completes the acquisition.

I think if it was EA it would be a no brainer. Much more difficult to asses Ubi's worth to Nintendo.

Seems to me Ubi have more big in-house franchises than EA do - from EA's conference a couple of weeks ago, most of their stuff at the moment is either sports games (which are all licensed out) and Star Wars games (which is obviously licensed too). Titanfall isn't theirs even though they probably own the publishing rights, and the only really big brand EA seem to be pushing at the moment which is a wholly-owned IP is Battlefield. On the other hand, Ubi have Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, The Division (all the Tom Clancy stuff) and Just Dance, and these are all in-house wholly owned IPs. If I were looking to buy one or the other and I had to consider the volume and value of their output, Ubisoft seems like a stronger prospect to me.
 

Boney

Banned
Jan 6, 2010
33,742
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Couldn't Ubisofy buy back their own shares from other share holders?

Similar to how Nintendo bought the shares after Yamauchi passed away to avoid any chance of something like this happening and inflating the price of their stock while at it.
 

Kill3r7

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Jun 19, 2014
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Seems to me Ubi have more big in-house franchises than EA do - from EA's conference a couple of weeks ago, most of their stuff at the moment is either sports games (which are all licensed out) and Star Wars games (which is obviously licensed too). Titanfall isn't theirs even though they probably own the publishing rights, and the only really big brand EA seem to be pushing at the moment which is a wholly-owned IP is Battlefield. On the other hand, Ubi have Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, The Division (all the Tom Clancy stuff) and Just Dance, and these are all in-house wholly owned IPs. If I were looking to buy one or the other and I had to consider the volume and value of their output, Ubisoft seems like a stronger prospect to me.

EA makes 3 of the top 5 selling console games year in and year out. If you want to appeal to masses there is no better way of doing it short of buying Activision/Blizzard.
 

Mr.Mike

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Jul 4, 2013
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Why doesn't Microsoft buy Ubisoft? They have plenty of money

The reason any company would buy another is because it's worth more to them than that company is worth on it's own. In this example perhaps Ubisoft games being exclusive to Microsoft would make more profit for the newly combined company then they would be making separately (perhaps the increased sales of Xbox's would more than make up for lost sales of Ubi games due to exclusivity).

Of course in reality the finance people and all their spreadsheets don't think that's the case, or Microsoft would be doing that sort of stuff, probably. There's also the matter that potential investments are "competing" against all the other investments that a company could make, and there might be other things a company could do that would be even more profitable. Finally there's an element of how much risk a company is willing to take, risk being a huge consideration in finance (perhaps the main one really). Maybe a move like MS buying Ubi might be profitable, but the odds aren't really that great and MS would rather keep billions in government bonds and make a guaranteed 1% return until a better overall opportunity presents itself, or maybe just give it back to the shareholders if the shareholders feel they can do better with the money themselves than through MS.
 

cartographer

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Feb 21, 2015
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Couldn't Ubisofy buy back their own shares from other share holders?

Similar to how Nintendo bought the shares after Yamauchi passed away to avoid any chance of something like this happening and inflating the price of their stock while at it.

They don't have the money to compete with Vivendi on that front. If they did this never would have been a problem for them.