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Ubisoft Seeking Investors to Fight Potential Takeover Bid


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Ubisoft might be in for an important fight in the future, as Vivendi appears to be making moves to take over the company. Vivendi has recently acquired a 15% stake in the publisher and made an unsolicited takeover offer for Gameloft, which was founded by Michael Guillemot, who co-founded Ubisoft with his brothers. According to one analyst, this hostile bid for Gameloft is likely a first step to force talks with the Guillemot family over Ubisoft. The brothers hold 16% of the voting rights for the company, and are backed by major shareholders Blackrock and Fidelity, which hold another 15% together.

To prevent Vivendi from possibly trying to change the board at the next shareholders meeting in September, Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft's CEO and one of the founders, is working to get at least 50% of the vote behind them. To that end, he is working to increase the number of Canadian. Ubisoft has a strong presence across the nation, with over 3000 employees in Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, and Halifax, and hundreds of millions in capital invested. The fear is that if Vivendi got control of the company, Ubisoft would lose some of its decision-making and operational agility, by being forced to work with Vivendi properties instead of forging partnerships with other global media companies.

If Vivendi is able to push for a takeover but does not make a friendly deal with the Guillemot brothers, it might lose them and the employees loyal to them. As this industry is dependent on creative talent, such losses could be very significant.

Source: The Globe and Mail



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