A few years ago, Ubisoft was under threat of a hostile takeover, as Vivendi began to buy back shares in the company. At the time, Ubisoft fought back to retain its independence, but after a series of major project delays and controversy over work culture, it looks like Ubisoft is finally ready to sell.
A number of companies are currently interested in acquiring Ubisoft this year. No major game publisher is currently attached to an acquisition offer. Instead, Ubisoft is attracting interest from private investment and private equity firms, including Blackstone Inc. and KKR & Co, as reported by Bloomberg.
They are the two largest private equity firms in the world and are said to have a “preliminary buyout interest” in Ubisoft. Kotaku added to the story, with sources saying Ubisoft worked with consulting firms this year in an effort to clarify its business to become more appealing to potential buyers.
Of course, any takeover of Ubisoft would depend on the agreement of the Guillemot family, as well as regulatory checks and approvals. Currently, the Guillemot family owns 15% of Ubisoft. Currently, Ubisoft has a market capitalization of $5 billion, although the stock price has fallen quite dramatically over the past four years, from $110 per share to just $41 per share.
Interestingly, the current trend of industry consolidation also started in 2018, right at the start of Ubisoft’s downward spiral. Things started with Microsoft buying a number of new studios and upping the ante over the years by acquiring Bethesda and making a huge bid for Activision Blizzard. Sony has also been on a flurry of acquisitions lately, picking up Bungie, Bluepoint Games, Nixxes and more.
Ubisoft has worked closely with big tech companies like Google and Amazon to push cloud gaming. However, with Google pulling out of game development, we’re unlikely to see them offer Ubisoft a boost to Stadia. However, other big tech companies could be looking to bid, as could other game publishers and rival platform holders.
KitGuru says: Now that word is out, we can expect a few other companies to show interest in acquiring Ubisoft, although all official discussions are subject to strict confidentiality agreements. With that in mind, don’t expect too many leaks to come out of this.
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