Ubisoft escapes Vivendi’s clutches as Chinese investor Tencent steps in


One of the biggest news stories of 2017 was undoubtedly Vivendi’s attempt to take control of Ubisoft. After all, Ubisoft is one of the biggest video game companies out there, with big-name franchises  like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Rayman under its belt.

But it’s clear that Ubi, as it’s known affectionately to gamers worldwide, would be a radically different company under Vivendi’s tenure, and CEO Yves Guillemot himself highlighted the importance of the company remaining  independent in an interview back in August 2017.

And it now looks like the French company has finally managed to avoid falling in Vivendi’s hands. This is thanks to a deal by which the French conglomerate will sell all its current Ubisoft shares to other parties as reported on Forbes.

One of these parties is Ubisoft itself, which will be buying back a little more than 9 million shares from Vivendi (at a price of 66 Euros). The other big buyer is The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, which is getting roughly 3,8 million shares at this same price, while other investors will scoop up the remainder of Ubisoft shares from Vivendi.

Also, by the terms of this deal Vivendi won’t be able to acquire new Ubisoft shares for 5 years, meaning the French video game company has likely averted any hostile takeover attempt from Vivendi for good, at least in the near future.

Another interesting development here is that Tencent will be stepping in as an investor. The company will claim ownership of roughly five and a half million Ubisoft’s shares, in a new strategic partnership between Ubisoft and this Chinese conglomerate. And although the name Tencent might not ring a bell to you, this is actually one of the biggest Internet companies in China, and not only publishes video game hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in the country, but also owns companies like Supercell, the makers of mobile hit Clash of Clans.

Actually, this deal will let Ubisoft not only bring its mainstream hits like Rainbow Six Siege to China, but also future mobile games in what could be a very lucrative deal for Ubi, no doubt.

Of course, you might think Ubisoft might be shooting itself in the foot by allowing a huge company like Tencent to own so much of its capital, but as is the case with Vivendi, Tencent won’t be allowed to increase its stake in Ubisoft, and neither will it get a place in Ubisoft’s board of directors either, so it seems Ubisoft did land a good deal here.

And it’s good news for Ubisoft fans that the iconic video game company will remain true to itself at least in the near future, so here’s hoping that its upcoming games like Far Cry 5 and The Crew 2 do live up to the hype and bring a smile to gamers worldwide when they hit shelves later this year.