You may not be familiar with their name, but French company Vivendi are one of the biggest multimedia conglomerates in the world. They own everything from film production group StudioCanal to Universal Music, and they used to own a majority stake in Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard. Over the past few years, Vivendi has been selling its Activision stock, unloading the last chunk just last month, but apparently they already have eyes for another huge video game publisher.
According to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry publisher Ubisoft may soon be the victim of a hostile takeover by Vivendi, and Ubisoft co-founder Yves Guillemot is on a desperate search for more investors to fend them off. Vivendi has already sent a big message, launching a hostile take over of mobile game publisher Gameloft, which is owned by Yves Guillemot’s brother, Michel Guillemot. Vivendi already owns 15% of Ubisoft’s shares, and hopes to bump that up to a controlling percentage.
If Vivendi were to take over Ubisoft, it’s expected it would result in heavy job losses, particularly in Canada, where many Ubisoft studios are located. The Globe and Mail estimates it could mean as many as 3,000 lost jobs.
While I’m not always a huge fan of Ubisoft’s business practices, it would be a shame to see them bought out like this, as they’re one of the last mega publishers still owned by its original founders. For better or worse, Ubisoft still has a unique “personality” as a publisher, and it would be a pity to see that snuffed out. Just saying, if the Vivendi Board of Directors all get stabbed in the neck by a guy in a hooded cloak, I’m willing to look the other way.