For the past several years, the French multimedia conglomerate Vivendi has had its eyes fixed on Ubisoft. It seemed only a matter of time before the game publisher underwent a hostile takeover. Instead, the publisher has beaten the odds.
In an announcement earlier today, it has been confirmed that the corporations have come to an agreement. In exchange for two billion Euros, Vivendi will sell off its 27.3% stake in Ubisoft's dealings and will not acquire further shares for the next five years. The finances for this exchange are being drawn up from a number of investors both new and old. Ubisoft is using the opportunity to reclaim stock via Guillemot Brothers SE, a company owned by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. The new investors in question include Tencent, the owner of Riot Games, and the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund.
Tencent's involvement will open up the Chinese gaming market for Ubisoft. Despite its status as a major gaming market, China's governmental regulation requires developers to gain a domestic publisher as a sponsor. With Tencent fulfilling that role now, Ubisoft will be able to push its brands further east. With that said, it will not simply replace Vivendi's threatening position within Ubisoft. The purchasing agreement locks them to a 5% share total and they will not hold a position on Ubisoft's board of directors.
In part of a press release on the subject, Guillemot delivered this statement:
“The evolution in our shareholding is great news for Ubisoft. It was made possible thanks to the outstanding execution of our strategy and the decisive support of Ubisoft talents, players and shareholders. I would like to warmly thank them all. The investment from new long-term shareholders in Ubisoft demonstrates their trust in our future value creation potential, and Ubisoft’s share buy-back will be accretive to all shareholders. Finally, the new strategic partnership agreement we signed will enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential.”Full details can be found on Ubisoft's investor page, while Kotaku has compiled a brief history of the events leading up to this agreement.