Ubisoft Entertainment SA UBI -0.12 % 's yearlong battle to stay out of Vincent Bolloré's clutches is coming to a head. The maker of "Assassin's Creed" and other popular videogame series is slated to hold a shareholder meeting Thursday and has been bracing itself for Mr. Bolloré's Vivendi SA, VIVHY -0.60 % with a 23% stake, to ask for board representation. That, analysts and Ubisoft executives say, could open the door to a more active role for Mr. Bolloré in the company, or even a full takeover. A Vivendi spokesman declined to comment on whether Vivendi plans to seek board representation at Ubisoft's shareholder meeting. As of Tuesday, the company didn't plan to do so, people familiar with the matter said.
French video game giant Ubisoft has recorded strong revenue in the recent past, thanks to a stable of consistent hits like Rainbow Six: Siege, Ghost Recon: Wildlands and the Assassin's Creed franchise. Even the oddball crossover Mario Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for Nintendo Switch found success earlier this year. But Ubisoft's steady run of success has not saved the company from talk of a possible hostile takeover by fellow French media corporation Vivendi.
French media conglomerate Vivendi may look to acquire developer Ubisoft this year, possibly through a hostile takeover, Reuters reported. Vivendi has been acquiring shares of the French video game developer for several years. In December, Vivendi confirmed it had obtained a 25 percent stake in Ubisoft and, as GamesIndustry noted, the company would be required to make a formal purchase bid for Ubisoft if its ownership stake surpasses 30 percent. Vivendi has publicly denied it wants to acquire Ubisoft. In a statement last year, the company said it hoped to work alongside Ubisoft and was "not considering the launch of a public tender nor acquiring the control of the company."
PARIS--French billionaire Vincent Bolloré refrained from seeking representation on Ubisoft Entertainment SA UBI -1.22 % 's board at a meeting of the videogame maker's shareholders on Thursday. Ubisoft had been bracing to see whether Vivendi SA, VIVHY -0.45 % which Mr. Bolloré chairs and which has acquired a 23% stake, would seek seats on its board. Such a move would have paved the way for a more active role for Mr. Bolloré in Ubisoft or even a full takeover of the maker of "Assassin's Creed" and other videogames. Instead, Vivendi said it abstained from voting on all of the resolutions presented Thursday, including a majority vote that reappointed two of the company's founders, Yves and Gérard Guillemot, as Ubisoft board members. Although the closely watched shareholder meeting ended with the Guillemot family retaining control of the board, the standoff with Mr. Bolloré is likely to continue.
Board members of the French video games company Gameloft SE resigned Wednesday as a sign of protest following a hostile takeover by French mass media company Vivendi. Media and entertainment conglomerate Vivendi reportedly owns 95.94 percent of the share capital of the mobile games editor after last month's takeover battle. "On a managerial level, Vivendi's methods are clearly opposite to the vision of the board and the management," Gameloft said in a statement. "The board of directors cannot accept to become the simple subordinate of decisions of a majority shareholder whose strategic vision and managerial values it doesn't share." Gameloft added it had accepted a proposal from Vivendi to name Gameloft's Chief Financial Officer Alexandre de Rochefort as head of the company's 39 subsidiaries to facilitate the transition period.