Ubisoft gives Vivendi the boot as Tencent becomes shareholder in the French publisher

Ubisoft gives Vivendi the boot as Tencent becomes shareholder in the French publisher

French publishing giant Ubisoft is free of the clutches of conglomerate Vivendi after compelling the firm to sell its 27.3 per cent of its share capital.

The firm has managed to get Chinese games and tech giant Tencent on board as a long-term investor, as well as the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. The former has purchased 3.4 per cent of Ubisoft's shares, with Tencent snapping up 5.0 per cent. Guillemot Brothers SE has bought 2.7 per cent of stock as part of this transaction.

Ubisoft itself has bought back 8.1 per cent of its stock from Vivendi, with other shares being bought back between 2019 and 2021.

As well as being a shareholder in the French publisher, Tencent has signed a strategic partnership agreement. This likely means that Tencent will be backing Ubisoft-centric decisions with the board.

“The evolution in our shareholding is great news for Ubisoft," Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot said.

"It was made possible thanks to the outstanding execution of our strategy and the decisive support of Ubisoft talents, players and shareholders. I would like to warmly thank them all. The investment from new long-term shareholders in Ubisoft demonstrates their trust in our future value creation potential, and Ubisoft’s share buy-back will be accretive to all shareholders. Finally, the new strategic partnership agreement we signed will enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential.”

“Today, Ubisoft is fully reaping the benefits of our long-term strategy and the successful transformation towards a more recurring and profitable business. Ubisoft is perfectly positioned to capture the numerous video game growth drivers in the coming years. We are focused more than ever on delivering on our strategic plan.”

Vivendi has been vying for control of Ubisoft, buying up more and more shares while staying below the threshold by which under the company would be compelled to make a formal purchase offer under French law.

Ubisoft has been fighting for control; the French publisher values its independence, something it would lose under Vivendi.

That company previously owned Activision Blizzard, before the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft firm performed a buyout worth $5.83bn.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.