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Vivendi ups stake in Ubisoft to 20.1 percent, edges toward takeover

Vivendi ups stake in Ubisoft to 20.1 percent, edges toward takeover

June 21, 2016 | By Chris Kerr

With its acquisition of mobile studio Gameloft all but complete, French media conglomerate Vivendi has upped its stake in Ubisoft to 20.1 percent

Vivendi has made clear its plans to unite French game companies Gameloft and Ubisoft under one banner, and following its hostile takeover of Gameloft earlier this year it was assumed the Assassin’s Creed creator would be next. 

If Vivendi manages to increase its stake in Ubisoft to 30 percent, French law dictates that the media group must table a mandatory takeover bid

Vivendi, however, insists it doesn’t plan on doing that, despite admitting it will continue to purchase shares based on market conditions. 

"Vivendi is not considering the launch of a public tender on Ubisoft nor acquiring the control of the company; [although we are] considering continuing to acquire shares depending on market conditions." read a company statement

Both Ubisoft and Gameloft were founded by the Guillemot family, who have spoken out on more than one occasion against Vivendi's unsolicited advances. 

"The family maintains that Vivendi's hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams,” said the family in the wake of the Gameloft takeover

While on stage at this year's E3, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot gave an impassioned speech about the importance of creative independence, and though he didn't mention Vivendi by name, it's apparent he's firmly against the company's very public pursuit of his studio.

"I love video games because the real innovation and magic comes when our teams and players are free to create," explained Guillemot. 

"Free to innovate. Free to express themselves. Free to take risks and have fun. That’s what got us here today, and that's what will drive us for another thirty years and beyond."

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