When Vivendi says they’re not trying to take over Ubisoft, what they really mean is that they’re trying to take over Ubisoft.
Back in October 2015, Vivendi purchased 6.6 percent stake in the French game developer, and then kicked it up to 10 percent and now slowly it’s been moved up to 18 percent in April. As of today, according to financial publication Bloomberg, Vivendi now holds a full 20 percent stake.
Ubisoft, for their part, is fighting this hard. CEO Yves Guillemot has said repeatedly that he plans to fight for independence, seeking out additional funding where he can. At Ubisoft’s E3 conference this year, Guillemot made a speech about the company’s history and independence that sounded like a speech from a game-developer-focused sequel to 300:
This year Ubisoft celebrates our 30-year birthday. That means 30 years in the best industry in the world. I love video games because the real innovation and magic comes when our teams and players are free to create. Free to innovate. Free to express themselves. Free to take risks and have fun. That’s what got us here today, and that’s what will drive us for another thirty years and beyond.
Vivendi CEO Vincent Bollore wants to develop a “fruitful cooperation” with the developer and publisher and, according to Bloomberg‘s report,
“Isn’t considering a public tender offer for the game maker, nor acquiring the control for the next six months.”
Vivendi is worth about $28 billion according to Forbes, where Ubisoft is worth about $4.2 billion by comparison. If Vivendi really wants to take the developer over, they likely just have to do it. Just, you know, not for six months, apparently.