Vivendi ups stake in Ubisoft to 25%

Paris-based French multi-media conglomerate Vivendi is increasing pressure on Spanish  video game developer Ubisoft to 25 per cent. According to commentators, not only did Ubisoft executives want to avoid a takeover by Vivendi, even the developers at Ubisoft were worried about the idea.

VentureBeat reported that Vivendi now held 25.15 per cent of Ubisoft's shares and 22.92 per cent of its voting rights. According to French law, in the event of Vivendi acquiring over 30 per cent of Ubisoft's shares, it would have to make an offer to buy out the company outright.

Commentators say though ownership may not be Vivendi's end goal, it had explained a few months back that its current plan was to get a seat on the board of directors.

However, the proposal had run into heavy opposition from Ubisoft leadership, so it now looked like the pressure was back on, with Vivendi increasing its stake to 24 per cent last month and then increasing it again this week to 25 per cent.

Additionally, Vivendi had also notified French regulator, Autorité des Marchés, of its plans for the next six months, regarding the acquisition of more shares depending on the movement of the market. 

Meanwhile, Vivendi had issued a statement claiming it had no intention of performing a takeover. Vivendi said its pursuit of even more stake in Ubisoft depended entirely on "market conditions."

Vivendi had earlier this year taken over control of mobile developer Gameloft. This naturally raised concerns as the company was created by the same family that founded Ubisoft. As regards the reasons it had given for buying more stock, it had earlier stated the move "is part of a strategic vision of operational convergence between Vivendi's content and platform and Ubisoft's productions in the field of video games."