Vivendi Invests In Ubisoft, Gameloft Following Split From Activision
Former Activision parent company Vivendi got a big payday in 2013 when the Call of Duty publisher bought its independence. The move saved Activision from a potential drain on its cash reserves, but cost $8 billion raised from a variety of investors, including a group led by CEO Bobby Kotick.
Now, Vivendi is getting back in the pool. According to Bloomberg, the company has invested in both Ubisoft and mobile publisher Gameloft. Total investments amount to €160 million ($183 million), with €140 million ($159.2 million) going to Ubisoft and €19.7 million ($22.4 million) to Gameloft.
With the $8 billion raised from its sale of Activision shares in 2013, another $850 million from shares sold in 2014, and other divestments, Vivendi is reportedly sitting on cash reserves of $10 billion. This puts it in a significantly healthier position than it was prior to its split from Activision.
Ubisoft and Gameloft are unlikely to find itself in the same position as Activision did. Vivendi currently controls only 6.6 percent and 6.2 percent of shares respectively.
Prior to Activision’s liberation, Vivendi was preparing to drain the publisher’s cash reserves with a special dividend. It was in serious financial trouble at the time, and losing Activision may not have been the desired outcome (though it did ensure the health of both long-term).
This return to gaming is minor enough that it could just be smart, diverse investing. I’m interested to see if Vivendi delves deeper, though.
It's also worth noting that this might be related to Ubisoft's recent acquisitions of Ivory Tower and Longtail, two studios with which it has existing relationships. The publisher could have used Vivendi's money to invest in bringing the studios in-house.