Ubisoft doesn’t seem opposed to accepting an offer of a buyout as it once was, and should one come in the future, it would review it in the interest of all stakeholders.
Speaking during its Q3 2022 call to investors, the subject of consolidation in the industry was brought up. Speaking on the subject, Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot assured that the company’s assets have “never been so strong at a time when the value of assets has never been so high” (thanks, GI.biz).
When asked during the investor’s call if being in such a good position meant it was a good time to sell, Guillemot said the subject would be broached to the board of directors, but emphasized the company has the means to remain independent.
“We have always taken our decisions in the interest of our stakeholders, which are our players, employees and shareholders,” Guillemot said. “So Ubisoft can remain independent. We have the talent, the industrial and the financial scale, and a large portfolio of powerful IP.
“Having said that, if there were an offer to buy us, the board of directors would of course review it in the interest of all stakeholders.”
When asked why Ubisoft had yet to receive an offer given the value in its IP, CFO Frederick Duguet said the firm would not speculate on why there hasn’t been an offer made, so he could comment no further.
“What we can say is as we mentioned, we have high-value assets. We have the scale to remain independent and create very meaningful value in the future because we have scale in terms of the workforce, as well as engineering, technology, IPs, and totally engaged communities.”
While Ubisoft hasn’t said whether it has or has not ever received an offer for the company, at one time, it was the target of an attempted hostile takeover by Vivendi, a French media conglomerate headquartered in Paris. It is the owner of Gameloft (which it acquired through a hostile takeover), and in 2008, it merged its game publishing unit with Activision in an $18.8 billion deal that saw it own a majority stake in Activision Blizzard. In 2013, Activision Blizzard purchased 429 million shares from Vivendi for $5.83 billion, dropping the shareholder from a 63% stake to 11.8% by the end of the deal in September.
Fast forward to 2015 and Vivendi had set its sights on Ubisoft, and for three years was buying more and more of Ubisoft’s shares, which at one point reached 27.3%. It was something that Ubisoft was completely against. Guillemot went so far as to call it “a fight to preserve our independence.”
To stop the company from buying more shares, Ubisoft enlisted the help of Chinese mega-conglomerate Tencent, and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Vivendi then agreed to sell off its shares in Ubisoft, and not to acquire any more for the next five years.