Ubisoft averts hostile takeover bid by Vivendi
The studio has seen 400-percent growth in the last three yearsBy Cal Jeffrey
Bottom line: French media company Vivendi SA has announced that it would be selling off all of its Ubisoft stock by March next year. The company currently holds about 26-percent interest in the game studio based in Montreuil, France. The stake is now worth almost $581 million US.
GamesIndustry.biz notes that Vivendi currently has about 6.7 percent of share capital tied up in deals with two "financial institutions." While that waits to be freed up, the corporation will sell about 0.9 percent of its Ubisoft holdings on October 1, 2018. The rest will be sold on March 5, 2019. Better put in your buy order now.
Vivendi's decision to sell off interest in Ubisoft is a 180-degree turnaround from its previous intentions. The media conglomerate began picking up shares in the game maker about two years ago in a bid for a hostile takeover. It had just successfully gained control of Gameloft by similar means.
French law would have required Vivendi to pursue a controlling stake once it acquired 30 percent of Ubisoft's stock. It seemed hellbent on doing just that until last November. An upturn in the studio's valuation and a less than stellar Vivendi earnings report threw a wrench into its takeover plans.
Since then Ubisoft shares have continued to climb which is likely the company's reason for nixing its buyout intentions. The Motley Fool reports that as of April this year, stock values in the studio have grown over 400 percent since Q3 2015. The largest growth occurred after Vivendi began picking up shares, so the selloff will still net a win for the conglomerate.
Once Vivendi trades the last of its Ubisoft stock it said it would not purchase any more for at least five years. So for now at least, the studio is safe from the predatory firm.