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Ubisoft CEO: A Vivendi takeover 'threatens the construction and pillars of Ubisoft'

Ubisoft CEO: A Vivendi takeover 'threatens the construction and pillars of Ubisoft'

September 22, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

September 22, 2016 | By Alex Wawro
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"Yes, companies merging is normally not a problem, but in our industry, which is changing a lot of time, it's actually risky."

- Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot paints the potential consolidation of Vivendi and Ubisoft in a negative light.

As French media congolomerate Vivendi gears up for a hostile takeover of Ubisoft, Ubisoft founder and chief Yves Guillemot is making a show of painting such a deal as bad business for Ubisoft's game dev talent.

At E3 earlier this year he closed out Ubisoft's press briefing with a thinly-veiled protest against the threat of a Vivendi takeover, suggesting his companies' successes are the direct result of Ubisoft devs being "free to create" and "free to take risks."

Now, in a recent interview with GameSpot, Guillemot has dropped the veil entirely and spoken out directly against Vivendi.

"[The takeover] threatens the construction and pillars of Ubisoft. The way we manage it is totally different from the way those guys manage companies," Guillemot told GameSpot during a press event in Paris. "The biggest concern would be to see what took 30 years to create can't continue."

Guillemot noted during the press event that if Vivendi succeeds, he does not expect to continue serving as CEO of Ubisoft. His brother Michel Guillemot suffered a similar fate earlier this year when he stepped down as CEO of Gameloft after Vivendi completed its hostile takeover of the company, which (like Ubisoft) was founded by the Guillemots.

"Creativity, agility, and risk-taking is intrinsic to our industry. If you are independent, you know the level you can go to, but if you're part of a conglomerate that doesn't understand what your industry is, how fast it's moving, or the decisions you have to make at speed, they can limit your possibilities," said Guillemot. "Seeing that somebody could come and not understand the industry--even without bad intentions--could destroy that capacity [to make decisions and take risks], that creation that is happening year after year."

This conflict has been brewing for some time -- Vivendi upped stakes in both Ubisoft and Gameloft last year in a bid to gain control of them. It's likely to come to a boil later this month, when Vivendi may attempt to make changes to Ubisoft's board of directors during its annual shareholders meeting.

For more of Guillemot's comments on the threat of a Vivendi takeover, as well as some light talk of what Ubisoft devs are working on (or not working on) this year, check out the full interview over on GameSpot. 



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