After years of slowly inching towards an inevitable hostile takeover, French media company Vivendi has sold its entire stake in Ubisoft, backing away from its intent to take full control of the video game developer and publisher.
Ubisoft and Vivendi reached an agreement that resulted in the latter selling the entirety of its roughly 30.5 million shares in the video game developer. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan now owns a 3.4 percent stake in Ubisoft that was purchased for $306.5 million USD, with Chinese giant Tencent controlling a five percent stake in the video game developer as well.
Tencent has also agreed not to transfer its shares or increase its ownership or voting rights in relation to Ubisoft’s operations.
The Guillemot family, Ubisoft’s founders and majority owners, also purchased 2.7 percent of the company, bringing the family’s total stake to 18.5 percent, along with 24.6 percent voting rights. All of Vivendi’s other shares in Ubisoft, which amount to $9 million, or an 8 percent stake in the company, are set to be sold at $81 per share.
Ubisoft and Tencent have also formed a strategic partnership that will help the French company’s properties gain traction in the Chinese market, according to a statement from Ubisoft.
Et on apprend que le géant chinois Tencent entre dans le capital d’Ubisoft (communiqué Ubisoft) pic.twitter.com/mnlES2NTtX
— Chloé Woitier ☕ (@W_Chloe) March 20, 2018
For the last few years, Vivendi had been slowly increasing its stake in Ubisoft, though the company repeatedly stated it had no interest in owning a controlling stake. French law states that any company that holds a 30 percent stake in another conglomerate must attempt a hostile takeover.
At one point Vivendi held a sizeable 26 percent stake in Ubisoft, coming just short of the required 30 percent.
It looks like at least for the time being, the Guillemot family will maintain control of Ubisoft.
— Ubisoft SF (@UbisoftStudioSF) March 20, 2018
The French video game developer has a significant presence in Canada, with major developer studios located in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax. Ubisoft is behind major video game franchises like Far Cry, Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed.
The company’s next major release is Far Cry 5.