Ubisoft Desperately Fighting off Vivendi Hostile Takeover!
Mike Sanders / 12 months ago
Ubisoft Continue to Fight Against Hostile Takeover
I could have started this article off with a joke about ‘who would want to buy them’, but that would be mean. Not necessarily based on their ‘rushed to release’ reputation, because that is largely true. Look no further than Watch Dogs or Assassins Creed for examples of that. The reason I will defend Ubisoft in this instance is pretty straightforward. It’s because of the company who is trying to buy them.
Don’t get me wrong either, I think Ubisoft has made some frankly bizarre decisions. I, therefore, do not defend them lightly.
Vivendi as far as I’m concerned, destroyed one of my favourite developers. When they purchased Sierra Games, there was hope for the company which had been stagnating for some time. Some poor business decisions and some bad luck left Sierra in some trouble. When Vivendi came in to buy what was left, they basically butchered the franchises and asset-stripped the company.
Therefore, although Vivendi does have some excellent franchises under their best, they do have a reputation for ruining companies they buy. Just like EA.
How can they buy Ubisoft?
Ubisoft is a company which has shares. Whoever controls the majority of the shares controls the company. As such, Vivendi has been purchasing shares everywhere it can in an effort to become the majority holder. At this point in most business contracts, there is a clause which allows for the compulsory purchase of the remaining shares.
Ubisoft, is, however, a French company, and French law is slightly different. Their laws are based more on ‘who owns the highest percentage’ by proxy owns the company. At present, Vivendi currently owns 27% of Ubisoft and apparently only needs a further 3% to make themselves the top shareholder. This, by French law, means that the hostile take over could be completed.
Ubisoft is desperately seeking investors to buy any ‘loose’ shares to try and hold control of their company. Given that only 3 percent is needed, I would be surprised if they succeed.
What do you think? Would Vivendi buying Ubisoft be a good for gamers or yet another example of a smaller developer getting swallowed by a bigger player? Let us know in the comments!