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After coming to an agreement with Ubisoft, Vivendi will be selling all of their Ubisoft shares and exiting the company’s investment altogether. That’s 27.3% of Ubisoft’s stock being sold back to the founders of Ubisoft, the Guillemot brothers in partnership with the Ontario Teachers` Public Equities and, of course, Tencent. This also includes a promise from Vivendi that they won’t seek out Ubisoft shares again for at least five years.
This is a major development in a very long, and often contentious battle between Vivendi and Ubisoft. Vivendi began slowly investing more and more and both Ubisoft and Gameloft, resulting in Vivendi’s buyout of Gameloft. It seemed as if Vivendi was closing in to do the same with Ubisoft. After months of watching Vivendi close in, Ubisoft began publicly asking for help. Their E3 shows were just as much displays of unity and pride in Ubisoft as it was about their games. Ubisoft was going on tour basically asking for new investors to beat back Vivendi’s growth. If Vivendi had reached 30% of Ubisoft’s shares an automatic buyout bid was required by French law, which is how Vivendi took Gameloft.
This seems to be the happiest ending. Vivendi certainly has made some money off their scheme and still walks away with Gameloft. The Guillemot’s get the future of Ubisoft back in their control and the new partnership with Tencent will certainly lead to pushes into China’s growing console and mobile markets.