Ubisoft has revealed a new tactic when it comes to thwarting off a potential hostile Vivendi takeover.
The French video game developer and publisher — which has a significant presence in Canada, both in Toronto and Montreal — is counting on its key employees, many of whom are behind the company’s best selling selling properties like the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Far Cry and most recently The Division, to convince Vivendi to back off its hostile takeover attempt, according to a recent Bloomberg story.
The message to Vincent Bollore and the rest of Vivendi is clear: If this deal goes through, top tier Ubisoft talent will leave the developer.
In the past, no hostile takeover in the video game industry has ever been completely successful. Nearly a decade ago, Electronic Arts tried to purchase a controlling share in Ubisoft, but the publisher halted those efforts with the same strategy it’s employing here. EA found itself in the same situation when trying to purchase Take-Two Interactive a number of years ago as well.
Ubisoft is the third largest independent video game developer and publisher in the world. Yves Guillemot and his four brothers co-founded Ubisoft 30 years ago and currently own 9 percent stake in the company.
Last October, Vivendi began buying its way into a controlling stake over Ubisoft and currently holds a stake in the company measuring in at just over 15 percent. Last month, Vivendi revealed that it plans to continue buying shares and that it plans to seek board representation in the near future. Vivendi has also begun a hostile takeover of Gameloft, a mobile-focused publisher also founded by the Guillemot family.
In an interview in Bloomberg Business, Guillemot says that he believes Ubisoft operates differently than most video game publishers. According to Guillemot, when a team needs additional development time, extra research or a larger budget, Ubisoft will often accommodate its various satellite studios.
Earlier this month Ubisoft revealed that its seeking Canadian investors to fend off Vivendi’s hostile takeover.
Ubisoft employs over 3,000 people in Canada across Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Halifax. It’s unclear how these jobs, as well as studio locations, would be affected if Vivendi’s hostile takeover is succesful.