Ubisoft vs Vivendi – The showdown


We all know Ubisoft is in the news lately for some positive reasons. Now they are in the news for trying to defend a hostile takeover. Vivendi made an attempt to take over the french publisher, by gaining maximum shares in the market. An annual stock holders meeting was conducted this week, over settling the cold war between Vivendi and Ubisoft.

The stake at one hand is, Vivendi’s control over the operations of Ubisoft and on the other hand is, Ubisoft’s independance. The stockholder’s meeting was directed to increase the number of board members and also transforming the board with half of independed members and half of founding members. With this scheme put to action, Vivendi tried to instate its own members into the board in order to gain a say in its favour at the end.

Earlier, Guillemot Brothers, who founded Ubisoft agreed to buy about 4,000,008 more shares, which is another 3.5 percent of the shares. This means they already own 9 percent of the company and a 15% of the voting rights. Now this 3.5% too, is included in their total shares. Vivendi has 23% of shares in the company. As per the French law a company is allowed to have 30 percent of the stock. If it cross the 30 percent mark, then they are allowed to launch a public offer on the company.

Vivendi’s plans were told to the media before the meeting even started. It was said that if Vivendi wasn’t able to make its members, a part of the board, then they might plan for a hostile takeover through stock purchases.

Ubisoft’s president Yves Guillemot quoted “The creeping control strategy implemented by Vivendi is dangerous. We think that there’s a great risk of shareholders losing value”. He also stated that his company won’t rest untill Vivendi sell their shares.

 After the annual stock holder’s meeting, Ubisoft shed more revelations on its victory over Vivendi. Yes, you heard it right. They did snatch a victory during the meeting.

It looks like the shareholders showed massive support for the strategy and management of Ubisoft. Yves Guillemot and Gérard Guillemot were re-elected as directors of the board. Along with them, two new independent directors, Frédérique Dame et Florence Naviner who were elected on Ubisoft’s suggestion.

The board now has 10 memebrs with 5 independant directors and 4 women. Ubisoft said it reached its stated objective of 50 percent independent board members, and plans to exceed this threshold by 2017 at the latest.

The president of the company then showed his gratitude for the support from the shareholders over this disupute. This might be the important victory Ubisoft required.


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