Vivendi is targeting Ubisoft for a hostile takeover this year, Reuters was told by two sources close to the matter. The French media conglomerate has been acquiring more and more of Ubisoft’s shares and already owns 25% of them. Referring to Ubisoft and advertising group Havas one of the sources said, “Vivendi is moving to the second phase, everything will take place this year”. The latter added that the company does not intend to buy the video games publisher at any price and has other targets to consider in China.
This way Vivendi is probably struggling to save their reputation among investors, who aren’t happy about the company’s recent letups, especially its not-so-fortunate Italian investments (Telecom Italia, Mediaset), which raised questions about the conglomerate’s capacity to make quick profits and plan a long-term strategy. Vivendi had previously tried to enter the video game market, successfully taking over Gameloft.
Of course, Ubisoft’s owners, the Guillemot family, aren’t willing to give their business up just like that. This is why they put the Assassin’s Creed franchise on pause this year, and have been trying to come up with new ideas and IPs. Some of these are the revisioned Far Cry Primal, brand new For Honor and Steep, continually expanded Rainbow Six: Siege and The Division as well as Watch Dogs 2, much different and better than the first installment. And while not all of their experiments were successful, that’s exactly the point – under Vivendi’s hand, the company would likely lose the creative freedom it enjoys now and wouldn’t be able to learn by trial and error any more.