Vivendi’s slow advance towards acquiring games giant Ubisoft is starting to speed up, with the firm now holding 25.15% of Ubisoft’s shares, giving it 22.92% of its voting rights.
Vivendi’s increased stake was revealed by VentureBeat. At the end of 2015, Vivendi held just a 10% stake in Ubisoft, which increased to 20% in June and then advanced to 24% last month. It’s a move that has seen the Guillemot brothers increase their own stakes in the company they own, as a preventative measure to try and prevent a takeover, although Vivendi repeatedly insist it’s not a takeover, and today filed a declaration with French securities regulator Autorité des Marchés stating its intentions for the next six months, claiming it might consider the acquisition of more shares but is still not planning to launch an offer to buy Ubisoft or take control of the company.
However, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot is convinced that Vivendi plans to acquire control of his company following the hostile takeover of Gameloft – also run by the Guillemot family – earlier this year. The head of Ubisoft says he will fight to preserve the publisher’s independence, insisting the company won’t rest until Vivendi sells off all its shares.
Vivendi meanwhile are still lobbying Ubisoft to reorganise its board of directors to ensure it has representation on the board that’s consistent with its stake, claiming that it plans to cooperate with the Ubisoft team.