Chairman of Vivendi Loses Fight for Ubisoft

By map (Ubisoft) via Wikimedia Commons

Vincent Bollore, the chairman of Vivendi, has lost a two-year dispute against the founders of Ubisoft, with his French media group revealing plans to sell its stake in the video games maker for approximately 2 billion euros (£1.8 billion).

The said move represents a strategic setback for the company, which has promised to make video gaming one of the fundamental pillars of Vivendi along with music, and pay-TV.

Vivendi had been increasing its holding in Ubisoft. The company said that it would sell its 27.3 percent stake in the company that is best known for its South Park and Assassin’s Creed games.

The stake-building by Vivendi that was launched since 2015 had prompted the founding Guillemot family of Ubisoft to court Canadian investors to fend off any possible hostile approach.

After the said sale Vivendi will continue to be active in video gaming via its acquisition of Gameloft, a mobile game maker which was also founded by a Guillemot brother. However, it is much smaller compared to Ubisoft which is the French leader in this market.

The exit of Vivendi, however, is a setback for Bollore amid increasing concerns regarding other ventures in Italy.

During a call on Tuesday, Ubisoft informed journalists that Vivendi had approached it some weeks ago regarding its intention to sell its stake eventually. Ubisoft began tapping up possible investors at that stage.

The Vivendi sale brings Ubisoft two new long-term investors, Tencent, a Chinese social network and gaming company, and the Relationship Investing arm of Ontario Teachers’ Public Equities division. The said deal also includes a share purchase by Guillemot Brothers SE, a share buyback by Ubisoft, and an accelerated book building with institutional investors.

As a part of the said transaction, Tencent and Ubisoft have also declared a partnership that will expedite the reach of the franchises of Ubisoft in China in the coming years.