Vivendi have inched closer to starting a hostile takeover bid of Ubisoft as the media conglomerate have confirmed that they have increased their stake in Ubisoft to 25.15%. Vivendi also own 22.92% of the voting rights in Ubisoft as a result.
In French law, once 30% of shares in a company are owned by one entity, they are required to table a mandatory takeover bid to purchase the company. If Vivendi increased their stake in Ubisoft to 30% or more, they would essentially have to make an offer to purchase the studio.
In September Vivendi owned a 23% stake in Ubisoft and have now increased that to 25.15%, just under 5% short of being forced to make a bid which is what it looks like Vivendi intend on doing later down the line. The company have confirmed that they aren’t done with purchasing shares just yet and will consider acquiring more shares in the future based on market conditions.
Vivendi took over mobile game publisher Gameloft last year by taking advantage of this law. Worryingly for Ubisoft, Vivendi used the same tactic that they are using now to acquire Gameloft, which was set up by the Guillemot family who also own Ubisoft.
The Guillemot family have reiterated countless times that they do not wish to give up control of Ubisoft and that they intend on retaining control of the company. There’s no way, however, that Ubisoft can force Vivendi out.
In a statement released earlier today, Ubisoft reaffirmed their commitment to providing the best experiences to players and fans.
“This is another indication that Vivendi is continuing its ill-advised and value-destructive approach of attempting to take creeping control of companies like Ubisoft,” the company said. “As we’ve said previously, we are undeterred by these actions and remain focused on providing the best experiences to our players and fans, and to delivering long-term value for all of our shareholders.”