Vivendi increases stake in games maker Ubisoft

Following it aggressive take over of Gameloft, French media giant Vivendi has increased its stake in sister games company Ubisoft and now holds more than 20% of voting rights.

Vivendi is asking to be represented on the Ubisoft board after increasing its stake by 2.7% to 22.63% of equity. Ubisoft’s founding Guillemot family, which owns a 9% stake and around 15% of voting rights, denied the request.

Ubisoft chief financial officer Alain Martinez said in a conference call on Tuesday (July 19) that he was confident that shareholders would support independence from Vivendi.

However, Vivendi has already won the battle to take control of Gameloft (see story here). In a statement to French securities regulator, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), Vivendi said it is “not considering the launch of a public tender of Ubisoft”, nor does it plan to take control of the company.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot recently told French newspaper Le Monde that the company would use proceeds from the sale of Gameloft shares to fight off Vivendi. Gameloft makes popular mobile games including Order & Chaos and Dungeon Hunter.

Based in Rennes, France, Ubisoft is one of the big three global games companies along with Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts. It makes popular games including Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell, which are both being made into feature films.

Produced by Fox/Regency Enterprises, the Assassin’s Creed film is directed by Justin Kurzel and stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottillard (pictured above).

Ubisoft recently reported first quarter sales of Euros139m and expects second quarter sales of around Euros100m.