Vivendi Lines Up Ubisoft For A Head-Shot Hostile Takeover

AC Syndicate

Ubisoft has found itself in a bit of a bind. Ideally, the company would like to remain independent, able to be more agile, and not have to answer to some overlord. But as time passes, it looks more and more likely that Vincent Bolloré, Chairman of Vivendi, will get his way and absorb Ubisoft into his mammoth media conglomerate.

A couple of years ago, Bolloré made an unsolicited takeover offer for Gameloft, a mobile-focused game developer that happened to have the same owners as Ubisoft -- the Guillemot brothers. Now, Gameloft is effectively under Vivendi's wing, and Bolloré would like to own a majority share of Ubisoft as well.

While Ubisoft was founded in France, Canada has some pride in the company, as it's a major player in the game industry and has four offices that span the right half of the country. In particular, Montreal has its biggest office, with some 2,600 employees. Coincidentally, Canada's new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, paid a visit there just yesterday to discuss the industry's future.

It's unlikely that Vivendi would upend Ubisoft's operations in Canada, but the company's founders want to mitigate the chance of it happening anyway. Currently, the company is in talks with Canadian investors to help keep the company independent and free from an owner that could make daily operations more difficult.

For Vivendi, though, this will not be a quick fight. The company got back into the gaming industry with the help of Gameloft, so it'd clearly love to be able to bolster its presence with a company like Ubisoft.

Far Cry Primal
Far Cry Primal, Ubisoft's latest title

And with this, gamers everywhere are beginning to wonder if a Vivendi takeover would be helpful -- Ubisoft is already at odds with many gamers, especially PC gamers, who've felt they've been wronged by the company, either with buggy launch titles, obtrusive DRM schemes, or some other limitations PC gamers don't ordinarily expect.

Whatever happens, this will be an interesting story to see unfold.