Ubisoft and Vivendi has been going at it for a while now, and just when things started to look dark for Ubisoft, they got the push that they need to fight the hostile takeover by Vivendi. In order to do so they bought back over $137.5 million of its own stock from, amounting to 3.2% of the company, which were previously held by Bpifrance.
In an official statement Ubisoft stated that “this transaction…fits into Ubisoft’s share buyback program” and that the deal will be closed before the beginning of November. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot add “We want to express our warm gratitude to Bpifrance for its support during all these years.”
Vivendi recently filed “a recomposition of the Ubisoft Board of Directors” in June this year, which at that time raised their stake in the company by 20%. In June, Vivendi completed their hostile takeover of Gameloft which was also owned by the Guillemot family. It was assumed that Ubisoft had always been the target of the takeover, which at that time Ubisoft campaigned to strengthen their defences against Vivendi, looking for more people to take up shares and control to help push them back.
While we make fun of Ubisoft from time to time (like we do with everyone) it would be extremely awful to see the company go to Vivendi and as it could be a loss of their spirit, the company is one of the few who are not afraid to try something different on the AAA scale.
Ubisoft still has a few announced titles set to launch this fiscal year including the highly anticipated sequel to Watch_Dogs, a new Ghost Recon title and the brand new extreme sports game Steep.
There will be a general Stockholders meeting for Ubisoft in which is schedule to, among other things, elect two new board members, increasing the total number of people on the board to ten and shifting the make-up to a board made up of half founding members and half independent members.
Vivendi has express desire to get some of their members on the board in order to dictate how the company is run. Vivendi does have a history of gaining control from founding members by Creeping control, in which they gain influence over board members instead of doing a hostile takeover.
If Vivendi doesn’t get it’s people on the board, sources familiar with the situation believe that this will push them to try for a Hostile Takeover. The creeping method would be playing the long game, but can be dangerous to the shareholders, meanwhile if Vivendi does try to do a direct takeover, they would have to make a public offer on Ubisoft according to French law, it is also likely that they would have to have the backing of another company to push for the takeover.
It is very likely that the outcome of tomorrows meeting will establish Vivendi’s move.