hostile takeover

Ubisoft Forced to Defend Against Vivendi

Who’s in the mood for a good hostile takeover? Well, hopefully Ubisoft, because that’s what Vivendi is trying to do.

Actually, it seems like Ubisoft isn’t all that interested in being taken over, and who could blame them? They’ve even gone as far as to call it “unwelcome and uninvited,” but that does little to prevent Vivendi from buying any more of their shares if that’s what they want to do. The Paris-based company has already bought 15%, as well as 30% of Gameloft’s shares, which one of the Ubisoft co-founders owns.

The situation actually makes a fair amount of sense. Vivendi lost control of Activision Blizzard in 2013 when the company bought back 429 million of its shares, and just recently, they sold off its remaining 5.7 percent stake in the company for over one billion dollars. Maybe the entire time they were planning to put that money into scooping up Ubisoft.

But what is a hostile takeover? It’s when one company (Vivendi) tries to buy out another company (Ubisoft) without going through the target’s management, who in this case would be chairman and CEO, Yves Guillemot. Instead, Vivendi is trying to buy the shares from outside sources in an effort to gain a majority stake in the company.

Ubisoft, understandably, doesn’t want this. It would might even have a negative impact on the company. People would lose their jobs. IPs would shrivel and die. Of course that would just be worst-case scenario. If Vivendi is aiming to buy Ubisoft in order to make even more money, then operations would probably continue like normal, just under new management. Either way, that’s seemingly not a risk Yves Guillemot or his brothers are willing to take. Besides, they’d lose their successful video game company. According to the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail, Ubisoft is actively searching for new investors in Canada. Yves Guillemot told them: “We want to increase the number of Canadian shareholders in Ubisoft to have better control over the capital. We feel it’s a good defense.”

The fact that Ubisoft is trying to defend itself against a hostile takeover may prompt Vivendi to stop trying, but considering that they’ve already started the early stages of the takeover, who knows if this will dissuade them. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if they pull it off.

And then it’s only a few more decades until megacorporations start to rise, and then we have can have ourselves a cyberpunk and potentially dystopian future.

Who wouldn’t want that?

About Josh Price

Josh Price is a writer who probably spends too many hours of the day playing video games. At some point he decided to put the two together to (hopefully) great effect. He also wrote some fiction. You should check that out if you're into such things, which you should be. Reading is FUNdamental.

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