UPDATE: Vivendi falls short in it’s attempt to dethrone the guillemot name from the Ubisoft brand. Today’s Ubisoft annual shareholder meeting proved fruitful to the existing CEO as his strategies towards swaying the board in his favor emerged lucrative.
The meeting surprisingly proceeded without any predicted inconsistencies, as the Guillemot duo(Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot and Ubisoft Motion Picture CEO Gerard Guillemot) were reelected to the board. Which would mean that Vivendi has to wait yet another year before making any attempt to vote in its representative to the Ubisoft board.
Though a victory for the CEO siblings, they will still be required to remain on their toes as this wasn’t Vivendi’s sole opportunity to attempt a hostile take over and there may be more surprises down the road before the next board meeting.
ORIGINAL: The French media giant, Vivendi, has been making calculated moves to take control of the well known Assassin’s Creed creator, Ubisoft, for most of the current year now. Today may be a significant day in the take-over process, as Ubisoft will hold its yearly shareholders meeting where Vivendi could make the attempt to secure seats on its board of directors.
As stated on the Wall Street Journal, a crucial Vivendi spokesperson wouldn’t remark on whether it intends to seek the subsequent board representation at the Thursday meeting. Sources aware of the matter said Vivendi doesn’t plan on doing so. However, other sources indicated to Polygon that by not seeking board seats, the media giant may have plans to attempt a hostile takeover.
Since we became a shareholder, we have written requesting meetings but so far nothing has happened, We feel it would be normal as the main shareholder to have a seat on the board, but we’re not in a hurry
a Vivendi spokesman told WSJ.
Ubisoft’s commander and chief, Yves Guillemot, wasn’t shy in expressing his concerns, saying:
We won’t relax until they sell their shares. The creeping control strategy implemented by Vivendi is dangerous. We think that there’s a great risk of shareholders losing value.
Ubisoft has never truly hidden its discontent with Vivendi’s acquisition of shares, a process which began last year, early October when it bought a 6.6 percent stake in Ubisoft. At the time, Guillemot described the successful investment as “unsolicited and unwelcome,” and he vowed to “fight to preserve our independence.“
Vivendi has, since initiation, continued purchasing shares(its stake now sits at a staggering 23 percent), but it has denied any immediate plans for a takeover. The company has had a history of hostile takeovers, including just recently, the mobile game developer “Gameloft” — which, like Ubisoft, was founded by the Guillemot family(starting to seem like a personal vendetta). Prior to this happening, speculation earlier this year suggested that the Gameloft takeover could have been part of an attempt to force talks with the Guillemots about a takeover of Ubisoft.
Ubisoft has made several moves throughout the year to undo Vivendi’s work. Guillemot met with lots of potential investors in Canada to build significant support back in February, in part because the company would need at the least, 50 per cent(Or 51%) of voters to stop Vivendi from securing the board’s representation during tomorrow’s stakeholders meeting.
In July, Ubisoft had nominated two individual directors for its board in a planned attempt to stave off a potential takeover. Those individuals, Frederique Dame and Florence Naviner, are to be approved during tomorrow’s meeting. Their addition would bring the total number of independent directors (those directors who hold no material relationship with the company whose board they sit on) up to five, representing the crucial 50 percent mark Ubisoft had said it hoped to reach earlier this year.
Earlier this month, the Guillemots acquired an additional 3.5 percent of Ubisoft’s market shares, bringing their total to just over 12 percent. Ubisoft itself just recently acquired a major mobile game company, Ketchapp, which, as Ubisoft said, “makes it the fourth largest mobile game publisher in the world in terms of total downloads“. Additionally, it announced expansion plans by forming a book-publishing division, which follows its subsequent foray into TV and movie production.
Earlier this month, the renowned game developer hosted a press conference, during which the key theme was Ubisoft’s independence. There Yves Guillemot had a great deal to talk about this subject, arguing that a takeover “threatens the construction and pillars of Ubisoft” and would remove its ability to take risks and be agile.