After almost a year since the announcement that Vivendi, a French mass media conglomerate, would be offloading its remaining shares of Ubisoft, the company officially makes good on the promise. According to a report by Reuters yesterday, Vivendi sold shares equalling a 5.9% stake in the video game company to make a capital gain of roughly $249 million. Ubisoft can now breathe a well-deserved sigh of relief to be rid of the company that once threatened a hostile takeover.
According to French law, a company which holds 30% of another’s stock must make intentions of a hostile takeover known, as opposed to a purchase of the company by more traditional means, a mark that Vivendi got dangerously close to at the height of its buying of Ubisoft stock. According to a report by Kotaku almost a year ago, Vivendi sat at a cool 27.3% stake in the company before it decided to step back. Amongst the buyers of Vivendi’s stake were Tencent, the Chinese game company, and the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund.
Vivendi released a statement regarding the finalization of the transaction, as per Reuters. “Vivendi is no longer a Ubisoft shareholder and maintains its commitment to refrain from purchasing Ubisoft shares for a period of five years,” reads part of the statement. While the wording will allow Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft chairman and CEO, at least five years of peace, it does leave the door open for Vivendi to reassess their plans of a takeover thereafter.
Vivendi is no stranger to hostile takeover within the games sector either, succeeding in the acquisition of Gameloft in 2016. Another part of their statement regarding the failed Ubisoft takeover said, “Vivendi, which already owns Gameloft, a global leader in mobile video games, confirms its intention to continue to strengthen its position in the video games sector,” leading many to ask what their next target will be. If their past actions are any indicators, expect the media mogul to make another run at a hostile takeover in the near future.