×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vivendi Unloads Its Stake in Ubisoft for $2.4 Billion; China’s Tencent Becomes Shareholder

Ending a bitter battle with the Guillemot brothers to take over Ubisoft, Vivendi has unloaded its considerable stake in the Paris-based video game powerhouse for €2 billion ($2.4 billion).

Led by chairman Vincent Bolloré, Vivendi had acquired a 27.27% stake in the company behind “Assassin’s Creed” (pictured) for €794 million ($972 million) over the last three years but failed to gain seats on Ubisoft’s board of directors as it faced fierce opposition from Yves Guillemot, who founded Ubisoft with his four brothers.

Vivendi bought Ubisoft’s sister company, Gameloft, through a hostile takeover, and the Guillemot brothers feared Vivendi would soon increase its stake to Ubisoft to reach the 30% that would have obligated Vivendi to make a buyout offer for the video game group.

While Vivendi is departing, two new long-term investors have come on board: Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which have committed to acquiring a 3.4% stake (for 3.7 million shares) and a 5% stake (for 5.6 million shares), respectively. The deals value Ubisoft at €66 ($80) per share.

Ubisoft and Tencent have also signed a strategic partnership to fast-track the reach of Ubisoft franchises in China in the coming years.

“The evolution of our shareholders is excellent news for Ubisoft. The arrival of [Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Tencent] highlights the trust they have in our creative potential and Ubisoft buying back shares will have a positive impact on all of the shareholders,” said Yves Guillemot.

He also noted that the partnership with Tencent would enable Ubisoft to tap into the Chinese market, which has “considerable potential.”

As part of the deal with Ubisoft, Vivendi won’t be permitted to make a buyout offer for Ubisoft over the next five years. But Jean-Baptiste Sergeant, senior analyst at MainFirst, said the outcome of the sale was fairly positive for Vivendi.

“The sale of shares is allowing Vivendi to make a significant profit of €1.2 billion which underscores the trading skills of Vincent Bolloré, especially since the rise of Ubisoft’s market capitalization has increased since 2015 partly due to the speculation linked to Vivendi’s potential OPA,” Sergeant said.

He added, however, that Vivendi’s sale of Ubisoft shares cast doubt on the French giant’s ambition to expand its activities in the field of video games.

More Digital

  • Nancy Pelosi

    Facebook on Defensive Over Fake Pelosi Video

    Facebook faced growing criticism this week over its decision not to remove a video that was doctored to suggest that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was intoxicated during a recent public event. The video, which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times, had been slowed down notably, giving the impression that Pelosi was slurring her [...]

  • Little-Black-Mirror-Maia-Mitchell

    Netflix Launching 'Little Black Mirror' Video Series Starring Maia Mitchell, Lele Pons, Rudy Mancuso, Juanpa Zurita and More

    To promote next month’s premiere of “Black Mirror” season 5, Netflix is launching a short video series — “Little Black Mirror,” with a cast that includes an ensemble of Latinx social-media stars. The three “mini-stories,” aimed at Spanish-speaking audiences, are inspired by the tech-dystopian universe of Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ anthology series. “Little Black [...]

  • Twitter

    Twitter Permanently Bans Anti-Trump Krassenstein Brothers, Who Deny They Broke Platform's Rules

    Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Ed and Brian Krassenstein — progressive political activists famous for trolling Donald Trump and his supporters — with the company alleging the brothers used bogus accounts to amplify their reach on the platform. “The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter rep said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake [...]

  • Snapchat

    Snap in Talks to License Music to Let Snapchat Users Embed Songs in Posts

    Snap wants to up Snapchat’s music game. The company has been in negotiations with music companies including the big three — Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group — to license song catalogs for the Snapchat app, according to two industry sources familiar with the talks, confirming a Wall Street Journal report. [...]

  • T-mobile - Netflix - John Legere

    T-Mobile Passes Netflix Price Hike Through to Subscribers

    T-Mobile is getting ready to raise prices for subscribers who have taken advantage of its “Netflix On Us” promotion: The mobile carrier will begin charging existing customers who have participated in the promotion an additional $2 per month to account for Netflix’s recent price increase. Consumers will see their bill go up starting on 6/2. [...]

  • Oona King

    Snap Hires Google Exec Oona King as First VP of Diversity and Inclusion

    Snap continues to fill out the ranks of its revamped leadership team: The Snapchat parent tapped Oona King, most recently Google’s director of diversity strategy and a former member of British Parliament with the Labour Party, as its first VP of diversity and inclusion. King, who starts at Snap on June 11, is also the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content