The Globe and Mail reports
that Ubisoft is in discussions with financiers in
an attempt to fend off what's described as a hostile takeover by Vivendi, owners
of a 15% stake in the company. Ubisoft founder and CEO Yves Guillemot, confirmed
meets are taking place with potential investors in Montreal and Toronto to help
the Guillemot's retain control of the company, and this blurb explains what's
going on, implying local jobs may be on the line:
Mr. Guillemot and his
four brothers started Ubisoft in France’s Brittany region and own a minority
stake, expanding it more than 30 years to become one of the world’s top five
video game publishers. They’re trying to push away Vivendi and its billionaire
chairman, Vincent Bolloré, who has amassed a 15-per-cent stake in Ubisoft in
recent months and made an unsolicited takeover offer worth some 500-million
euros ($750-million) for another Guillemot brothers-run gaming company, Gameloft
The hostile bid on Gameloft is the first step in Vivendi’s larger ploy to force
talks with the Guillemot family and take over Ubisoft, analysts at European
investment bank Bryan, Garnier & Co. have said.
At stake are more than 3,000 Ubisoft jobs in Montreal, Quebec, Toronto and
Halifax, and hundreds of millions in capital invested since the company opened
its first studio in Canada in 1997. Quebec has the most to lose, with Ubisoft
representing a pillar of its multimedia industry.
Although it’s unlikely Vivendi would shut down Ubisoft’s Canadian studios
outright, the assets would be better protected if Ubisoft remained independent,
Mr. Guillemot told The Globe and Mail on Thursday. Ubisoft enjoys a
decision-making and operational agility that it wouldn’t have under Vivendi, and
can forge better partnerships with global media players such as Warner Bros.
instead of being forced to work with Vivendi’s properties, the CEO said.