Earlier this month, the French Conglomerate Vivendi bought out 61.7% of shares of Gameloft. In what is called a hostile takeover, Vivendi is taking this as a step into the path of taking over the French branch of Ubisoft. As the former owner of Activision-Blizzard, it sold its 85% stake in the company in 2013 for $8 billion.
Since then, Vivendi moved off to multiple industries. From music with Universal Music Group, to digital media with Dailymotion, it seems like they are trying to come back into video games. But with pushing off the CEO of Gameloft, it is expected that Vivendi will be able to worm its way into the Ubisoft board at the next shareholders meeting in September.
Ubisoft isn’t taking this news lying down though. Since they have the Ubisoft Montreal branch, a foreign takeover could place thousands of jobs at risk. Looking for a white knight to protect them, Ubisoft has been talking to Canadian investors as well as the Canadian Government for protection.
As a response to the takeover, Vivendi issued an email to Gameloft’s employees that urges them to stay. This was made evident in a return to the CEO of Gameloft’s email, which was leaked by a current employee.
So what does this mean for you? The current games line-up has already been decided for Gameloft for the next year, which means that there isn’t much to worry about on that front. And given Vivendi’s previous history with Activision-Blizzard, chances are that Vivendi will not sabotage the company in an effort to make even more money. But for employees who are loyal to the Guillemot brothers, who founded both Ubisoft and Gameloft, they might leave the new company. This move could be a “f*** you” to the French conglomerate and show their independence.
Either way, it will be worth keeping an eye out on what will happen, with Ubisoft and Gameloft, over the next few weeks.