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Vivendi Becomes Ubisoft’s Majority Shareholder, Will Seek Board Representation in 2017

Vincent Bollore’s media conglom Vivendi has become Ubisoft’s largest shareholder, with a 22.8% stake in the company, and will be vying for board representation starting in 2017.

Vivendi took part in Ubisoft’s general shareholders meeting yesterday but did not ask for board representation.

The company nevertheless said it seeks to gain two voting seats on Ubisoft’s board of directors starting in 2017.

“Vivendi considers that it would be good corporate governance for it to be represented on the company’s board of directors, considering its level of equity interest,” said the company.

Earlier this year, Vivendi conducted  a hostile takeover of Ubisoft’s sister company, Gameloft, a thriving mobile-game company, as part of its strategy to develop its presence in the vidgame scene.

Today’s statement appears to confirm speculations over Vivendi’s project to take over Ubisoft in the coming months.

Yves Guillemot, who founded both Ubisoft and Gameloft with his four brothers, has been fiercely opposed to Vivendi’s efforts to gain control of Ubisoft.

Vivendi would be obligated to make a buyout offer for Ubisoft if it held more than 30% of the company’s shares. In any case, since Vivendi claimed in June that it didn’t intend to make a bid for Ubisoft, it has to wait six months (until December) to make an offer for the video game group.

Ubisoft would be a highly valuable asset for Vivendi because of its international profile and top-notch franchises, such as “Assassin’s Creed,” which spurred a big-screen adaptation directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender (pictured above).

Vivendi is involved in the fields of music (Universal Music Group), TV and audiovisual production (Canal Plus Group, Banijay) as well as Telecom Italia and Telefonica.

Vivendi previously owned Activision Blizzard and sold its remaining shares in the company in January.

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