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The saga between Ubisoft and Vivendi Universal continues, with the Guillemot family increasing their stake in the company to ward of Vivendi.

According to a report by Reuters, the Guillemot family raised its stake into the company to 13.6% of Ubisoft’s share capital, and 20.2% of the company’s voting rights. This was done against Vivendi Universal, who has also been raising it’s stake in the company exponentially. Currently, Vivendi holds 27% of Ubisoft’s share capital and 24.5% of the voting rights.

The back and forth between Vivendi and the Guillemot family has been a well publicized struggle. Vivendi purchased a large stake in Ubisoft back in 2015. Vivendi has been steadily trying to increase their control of Ubisoft since then, raising their stake in the company throughout 2016 to surpass the 20% mark of ownership late last year and appointing Vivendi COO Stephane Roussel as the head of Gameloft after purchasing it from the Guillemot family who sold it to focus on protecting Ubisoft.

Vivendi has a history of attempting to takeover game publishers. From 2007 to 2013, Vivendi was the majority shareholder for Activision-Blizzard, which Vivendi formed in 2008. In 2013, Activision-Blizzard announced that they would buy back over 429 million shares from the company, totaling $5.83 billion, and dropping them from owning a majority stake in the company (63% at the time) to only 11% of the shares. In early 2016, Vivendi officially withdrew from Activision-Blizzard, selling the rest of its shares for $1.1 billion.

The Guillemot family who founded Ubisoft back in 1986, and have been fighting tooth and nail to stave off Vivendi, including avoiding a board takeover, and buying up their own shares in the process. The Guillemot family hopes to keep Ubisoft independent as both a developer and publisher, but CEO Yves Guillemot stated that the company can also partner with another game or tech company to counteract Vivendi’s takeover.

The Guillemots have been involved with probable takeovers in the past. In 2004, Electronic Arts purchased a 19.9% stake in Ubisoft, which the Guillemot family stated at the time was a “hostile takeover” of the company. EA at the time stated it was to be a “consolidator” for the industry, essentially claiming to help Ubisoft stay afloat when the industry was facing a downturn in the early 2000s. EA would never interfere with the company before selling their minority stake in 2010 back to Ubisoft for an undisclosed amount.

The clashes between Ubisoft and Vivendi will certainly drag out further, as both sides continue to buy up more stake in Ubisoft.

What are your thoughts on this? Leave your comments below. 


Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.