By William Audureau
“A stock tussle of this intensity is rare! It’s a real drama, with new unexpected actors burst into full action. “ Charles-Louis esplanade analyst Midcap Partners, does not hide the excitement and excitement that won all observers of the battle between Vivendi and Ubisoft.
Since the group Bollore entered by surprise the capital of the company Guillemot Brothers in the fall of 2015, both companies leading chess both media and market whose outcome could be partly determined by the annual general meeting of shareholders of Ubisoft, held Thursday, September 29 at 14 pm to 30 Montreuil .
To everyone’s surprise, Vivendi, which had expressed its wish to be represented on the board, did not file resolution upstream of the AG. But the man of Breton business can always do by introducing a resolution to this effect during the meeting date, then transforming the shareholders present arbitrators.
reject such a resolution would be a strong message of preservation will of independence of Ubisoft. If the application is accepted, the group of media Vincent Bolloré would hand a first foot in the heart of Ubisoft – beginnings of a possible takeover of the decision-making apparatus, with or without public offering purchase (OPA).
The latest tendencies reports Reuters, however, are at a status quo, Vivendi seeking appeasement after a year of high-profile showdown.
- What is the current balance of power?
According to recent public statements (which may be understated if other transactions took place since), the Guillemot brothers hold 13.22% of the shares and 19.18% of the voting rights. Vivendi, meanwhile, currently owns 22.8% of capital and 20.2% of voting rights. The balance of power is extremely balanced, and leaves crucial to the other shareholders, who share more than 60% of the remaining voting rights.
- For shareholders who lean?
The trend seems to be support for Ubisoft. The French publisher has made a number of issues and redemptions of securities, including encouraging its own employees enter to its capital since 2015. As a result, the company’s employees now hold 4% of it.
According to information from Bloomberg, Ubisoft also have the support of the US investment fund FMR (about 9.6% of capital and 8.76% of voting rights) and BlackRock (just under 5% of capital and about 4.5% of the voting rights), bringing his voice to over a third of the capital.
The great unknown resided Wednesday of next JP Morgan, who announced have increased from 0.73% to 8.94% share in the capital of Ubisoft, or 7.90% of voting rights. The operation, carried out market will ultimately nothing change the bank does not provide for take part in the deliberations. In addition, many minority shareholders intentions are unknown.
- If Ubisoft takeover of Vivendi, what are the consequences for consumers?
short term, they would be null: unlike a television show, a game costs several million euros and takes years to be produced, making it unlikely the cancellation or change of direction of current projects. However, Vivendi may be tempted to put end certain unprofitable series Ubisoft continued to support like games shooting Ghost Recon or try synergies with Universal and Canal + licenses.
More in depth, Ubisoft Vivendi threat of a mass exodus of its creative, widely shared position within “the editorial,” the central unit responsible for the artistic and strategic management of the firm. Ultimately, the risk of see like Canal +, the company and its brands continue to exist, but emptied of part of their historical settings, or just ensures Ubisoft, from their minds. Jordan Mechner, creator of the game Prince of Persia, now owned by the French publisher, co-signed a letter with several large shareholders other names of industry as John Romero ( Doom ) and Will Wrigh ( Sim City the Sims ) for awareness the question.
- Can it still does not redeem Vivendi Ubisoft?
Yes. Vincent Bolloré is even customary stock raids unfinished, as with Bouygues in 1999. If Vivendi sold its shares today, the group would realize anyway a significant added value, linked to the price performance of Ubisoft, which has doubled in one year.
But this would require that the media group found a buyer for his shares – otherwise the course would immediately collapse. Part of the challenge for Ubisoft, therefore, is to develop a way out for Vivendi, by finding a partner who would accept this burden while respecting the identity and independence of the editor. The Disney name has circulated, but it could also be a telecoms giant.