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VivendiLogo-610

Mass media company Vivendi has been acquiring shares of Ubisoft and Gameloft, the latter of which it is now the new owner of. The Guillemot brothers, who have founded both companies, view the move as unwelcome and believe it restricts the freedom the companies had as independent developers.

Background

Vivendi Universal Games

Logo of Vivendi Universal Games from 2004-2006.

Vivendi first started video game publishing after its acquisition of Universal in 2000. The latter's video game division, Universal Interactive, was consolidated along with other studios Vivendi had purchased into Vivendi Universal Games, which became the new publishing division of games. Throughout its history, Vivendi Universal published several notable franchises such as Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro. It was also the owner of Sierra Entertainment.

In December 2007, Vivendi Games announced it would merge with Activision to form Activision Blizzard, which went active in July 2008. On July 25, 2013, Vivendi split from Activision Blizzard, and along with it went its video game publishing unit.

Overview

In October 2015, Vivendi purchased a 6% stake in Ubisoft, a move which was considered hostile and unwarranted by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. In February 2016, Vivendi acquired 30% of Gameloft, by which point they also increased their stake in Ubisoft to 15%. By June 2016, Vivendi held a 61.7% stake in Gameloft. Despite the Guillemots' efforts to fight off the takeover, Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot resigned on June 29, 2016, and the founders begrudgingly sold their 21.7% stake in Gameloft to Vivendi, giving them almost complete ownership. As of July 2016, Vivendi now owns 96.9% of Gameloft, and they replacement the company's management to reflect their ownership.

As for Ubisoft, Vivendi currently owns 22.8% of the former, and looks to be using tactics similar to their takeover of Gameloft.

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