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Despite now owning 25% of Ubisoft’s stock, Vivendi has been pretty staunch that they have no intentions of taking over the company. Ubisoft has been treating their denials like declarations of war and has battened down the hatches to protect themselves. Now, according to two sources talking to Reuters, Vivendi is preparing to make it very clear they want to buy Ubisoft and they want to do it this year. The two sources explain that thanks to a downturn in Vivendi’s stock and increasing concerns from investors, they intend to speed up their plans and find a way to get to the magical 30% of Ubisoft. At 30% French law requires Vivendi to make an offer on the remaining stock. This is exactly how Vivendi took over the mobile game company Gameloft just last year.
This doesn’t mean that Ubisoft will be Vivendi owned by the end of the year, but it does mean they are under direct and urgent threat. Vivendi would still need to offer competitive prices on Ubisoft’s stock, which continues to grow thanks to the anticipated takeover. And according to those same sources Vivendi would have a ceiling price before looking elsewhere. Vivendi will be looking to move into video games again one way or another. China is an obvious target if Ubisoft falls through.
Vivendi needs something positive to go their way thanks to a 2016 filled with scandals, court dates, and bad press. A buyout over a major video game publisher would certainly keep them branded as a major entertainment company.