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In context: In the past six months, half a dozen game studios, including Activision Blizzard, Bungie, and Bethesda have been acquired for billions. Everyone is wondering which studio will be next, including Ubisoft and its shareholders. This week the company published its quarterly report with some wording that made it read more like a sales brochure, prompting questions about the company’s intentions.
Ubisoft published its quarterly report on Thursday and its executives held an earnings call with analysts and shareholders afterward. Subtitles in the 10-page report like "Ubisoft’s assets have never been so strong at a time when the value of assets has never been so high" and "The richest pipeline of games in Ubisoft’s history" made it read like a sales brochure, prompting questions about the company’s intentions.
"In a consolidating industry I guess I’m wondering why you guys haven’t had an offer given the embedded value of your IP," analyst Matthew Walker asked. "Is that because in order to be acquired you have to signal that you want to be acquired and that you haven’t done that?"
"We will not speculate on why people would not have made any offer," Ubisoft CFO Frederick Duguet began. “What is interesting --" And here he was interrupted by CEO Yves Guillemot, who said, "If any offer were made, actually."
"We won’t speculate anymore on any potential interest in buying Ubisoft."
"-- Absolutely, so I can’t comment on that any further," Duguet continued. "What we can say is that as we mention we have high-value assets, we have the scale to remain independent and create very meaningful value in the future because we have scale in terms of workforce, as well as engineering, technology, IPs, and strongly engaged communities."
In some ways, Ubisoft is a poison chalice. Its stock fell continuously throughout 2021 and is worth half of what it was a year ago. It’s also plagued by accusations of severe misconduct that the leadership has rebuffed.
But because it’s priced so low, Ubisoft might also be a bargain.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla just became the first AC game to generate over $1 billion in revenue and both Rainbow Six Extraction and Far Cry 6 have been well received.
If it were to be sold, Microsoft would be the most likely buyer. Since the two struck a deal to bring Ubisoft+ to Xbox Game Pass, speculation about a sale has run rampant. Another potential buyer could be Tencent, which currently holds a 5% stake in the company.