PARIS– After selling more than 35 billion Euros in telecoms and vidgame assets such as Activision Blizzard, Vivendi has acquired a equity stake in Ubisoft and Gameloft for a combined $181 million.
Vivendi, which is now under the full leadership of Vincent Bolloré, has nabbed 6.6 percent and 6.2 percent in Ubisoft and Gameloft, respectively. Vivendi bought 7.36 million Ubisoft shares for 140.3 million Euros and 5.24 million Gameloft shares for 19.7 million Euros.
In its short official release, Vivendi described the two French companies as having an “internationally-recognized know-how in video games” and said the company was looking to use “its available cash.”
Co-founded in 1986 by Yves Guillemot and his four brothers, Ubisoft is headquartered near Paris with operations established in 28 countries. The company is best known as the creator of hit vidgame franchises such as “Assassin’s Creed,” “Splinter Cell,” “Just Dance” and “Raving Rabbids.” Paris-based Ubisoft Motion Pictures is also producing Justin Kurzel’s “Assassin’s Creed” with Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender. The company has also turned “Raving Rabbids” into a popular animated TV series for Nickelodeon and France Televisions.
Gameloft, Ubisoft’s sister company, is a leading creator of games for mobiles and apps.
Ubisoft’s share prices have reportedly climbed 14 percent, while Gameloft’s share value has gone up 17 percent following the acquisitions.
Vivendi’s comeback into the vidgame biz has surprised industry insiders since the company had sold its 85-percent stakes in Activision Blizzard for more than $8 million in 2013, claiming it was aiming to focus on its TV and music operations.
Earlier this month Vivendi acquired a 30-percent stake in Stephane Celerier’s Mars Films, a Paris-based leading distributor known for handling the biggest American indies and French hits.
Vivendi is expected to make further acquisitions in the coming months.