Ubisoft and Vivendi came face to face at a shareholder meeting and Ubisoft lived to fight another day, for now at least. Industry Insiders believe that this is just the beginning of the fight for control of the creators of games like Assassin’s Creed, The Division and Ghost Recon. It was widely expected that Vivendi who have been aggressively trying to wrestle control of the company from those who built it up and would attempt some sort of corporate coup at the companies annual general meeting .
Ubisoft desperately want to remain independent whilst Vivendi seem to want to take control over the operational side of the business and influence the future direct on Ubisoft. Vivendi had publically expressed its desire to put it’s own members onto the Ubisoft board and gain some influence in the day to day running of the company , but in the end it didn’t propose any resolutions before or during the meeting.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot and Ubisoft Motion Picture CEO Gerard Guillemot were both re-elected to the board whilst two new members were also elected replacing one member who had left and another additional independent member increasing the size of the board to 10 members shifted. the Ubisoft board is now made up of 5 founding members and 5 independent members.
It’s highly unlikely that Vivendi will give up its endeavours to wrestle control of the company from the founders. They have history of inserting their own people onto company boards to gain control which would avoid the more costly method of a hostile take over. It’s more than likely that Vivendi will approach the situation with different methods and they are unlikely to give up so easily.
The next Stockholder meeting were board members will have to be re-elected is in a years time but for now Ubisoft are reflecting on the positive events of the day. A Ubisoft spokesperson told Polygon “Today during our Annual General Meeting, Ubisoft shareholders expressed massive support for Ubisoft’s strategy and management. We remain focused on the execution of our strategic roadmap, which has already proven successful and which we are confident will continue to deliver great results and value for all of Ubisoft’s stakeholders. We’re also very happy to welcome two new independent directors, Frederique Dame and Florence Naviner, who will bring their expertise and know-how to Ubisoft’s Board.”
According to Bloomberg , Guillemot Brothers SE, a company made up of the five brothers who founded Ubisoft, agreed to buy up to 4,000,008 more shares of the games publisher, or about another 3.5 percent of the company. That is on top of the 9 percent of the company the family already owned and 15 percent of the voting rights. French law states that the amount of stock a person or company can hold is capped at 30 percent so anyone who goes beyond that point will have to make a public offer for the company. Vivendi is currently in possession of 23% of the company.
The local government of Quebec, where Ubisoft employs a lot of people have offered assistance should the company formally request it. It is also understood that the popular publisher is courting support from other publishers in the industry.