Ubisoft Calls Vivendi Investment ‘Unsolicited,’ Will Remain Independent
Earlier this month, former Activision owner Vivendi returned to the gaming sector with two investments. The company purchased 6.6 percent of Ubisoft and 6.2 percent of Gameloft, amounting to a total spend of €160 million ($183 million).
In a reported Ubisoft internal memo obtained by GamesIndustry.biz, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot states that the investment was both “unsolicited and unwelcome.” A separate email also obtained by the publication also suggests that Guillemot is concerned that a takeover would bring with it risk of leadership from those that don’t understand Ubisoft or the industry.
When reached for comment, Ubisoft confirmed that Vivendi’s €140 million ($159.2 million) investment wasn’t sought after. “We take note of the unsolicited action on the part of Vivendi,” a company representative told us via email. “We reiterate our intention to remain independent, an approach that, since the company’s founding 30 years ago, enabled it to become the third-largest video game developer in the world.”
In 2013, Activision spent $8 billion to free itself from Vivendi, raised from a combination of internal reserves and an investor group led by CEO Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly. Subsequently, Vivendi divested itself of another $850 million worth of Activision shares in 2014.
An investment of this magnitude without prior communication understandably has Ubisoft on edge. Looking at Vivendi’s most recent financial troubles and how it was preparing to drain Activision’s cash reserves before the split, and you’ll see what might have Guillemot and other Ubisoft leadership on guard.