Despite creating amazing games and long-lasting franchises, you would be surprised to hear Ubisoft was trying to avoid a hostile takeover of their company for several years from Vivendi. Vivendi is a French multimedia company. They are active in music, television, film, and video games. They were the previous owners of the most shares for Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft, OverWatch) before they became Activision Blizzard. Vivendi began to purchase shares of Gameloft and Ubisoft to own the companies. CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot and Michel Guillemot, viewed their acquirement as a hostile takeover and worked together to prevent Vivendi from purchasing more stocks.
What do Shareholders do?
Investors can purchase a majority of shares than others to have influence on the Board of Directors (BoD). The Board of Directors vote to determine which direction a company should move and they represent the shareholders. Depending on how much a person invests into shares determine the amount of power within their votes. Vivendi attempt to buy more shares was to own Ubisoft just like they bought most of the shares for Gameloft. Vivendi denied the accusations on December 2016. They had owned 27.5% prior to the current news. France laws states if a person owns more than 30%, they are obligated to offer to buy the company.
Yves worked with individuals to prevent Vivendi from purchasing more shares. Vivendi is now selling its 27% shares for 2 billion euros. Ubisoft and the Guillemot Brothers C.E. (Representative company of Ubisoft‘s founders Guillemot family) will acquire 15% of Vivendi‘s shares. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan — an independent organization that administers pensions for about 318,000 teachers in Canada’s most populous province- and Tencent (League of Legends, PUBG China), a Chinese conglomerate will purchase the 3.4% and 5% of the remaining stock but won’t have seat on the BoD. The rest will be sold through accelerated book building.
Why is this important?
The Board of Directors have huge influence on companies but they may not follow the same views as the CEO or how people want the company to act. Their biggest focus is on the companies to earn as much money as possible. With Ubisoft owning most of the shares and already setting plans for 2018 – 2020, they can choose their own business practice. Shareholders won’t have the influence to force Ubisoft to use “dirty” business strategies such as releasing more DLC, releasing unpolished games or creating more mobile games. We want gaming companies to choose their own business goals without compromising their principles because of the shareholders.