9 June 2016

Vivendi to Buy Remaining Control of Gameloft as Guillemots Agree to Sell


   Vivendi acquired majority control of mobile games publisher, Gameloft, last week, and now the Guillemot family has said it will sell its remaining control to the mass media company. Some analysts believe that the acquisition of Gameloft is part of a larger plan to buy Ubisoft, another Guillemot family-founded company.

     In a report by the Wall Street Journal, the Guillemot family said that it "maintains that Vivendi’s hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams." The Guillemots control amounts to 21.7 percent, which will go to Vivendi when the sell-off goes through.
    Gameloft's former CEO Michel Guillemot resigned last week, as he addressed the publisher's future. He will remain in power until a shareholder meeting on June 29, at which point "a new management with a new strategy will have taken over."
Michel also mentioned the changes that could come with Vivendi's forthcoming takeover.
"There will be from June 29 onwards a new strategy with a possible integration of Gameloft's existing activities into Vivendi's," he explained. "The information published so far by the new owners show that the changes may be profound, for the creators: "convergence between creative industries," and for everyone else: "pooling of distribution networks." It is not my role to say if these changes will be positive or negative for you as it will happen after my watch."
Michel also sits on the board of Ubisoft, where his brother Yves is the CEO. Vivendi gained a minority stake in the Assassin's Creed publisher in October 2015 and has periodically increased its stake since. Yves has stated in the past that Ubisoft will "fight to preserve [its] independence" and said that Vivendi's investment is unwanted.
"Our intention is and has always been to remain independent, a value which, for 30 years, has allowed us to innovate, take risks, create beloved franchises for players around the world, and which has helped the company grow into the leader it is today," he said.
    Ubisoft has prepared for a possible hostile takeover by Vivendi by meeting with "a dozen potential investors" in Canada as part of an effort to "build support for the company's founders and current management." Ubisoft is based in France, but its largest studio is located in Montreal.