Rumor mill: With all the recent news of game studio acquisitions, it’s probably no surprise to hear that Ubisoft is being considered for a possible takeover. However, it likely won’t be by the usual suspects — Microsoft or Sony. The two primary interest holders are mega-conglomerate Blackstone and investment firm KKR. Other unnamed firms are eyeing the publisher as well.
Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft Entertainment is reportedly attracting takeover attention from private equity companies Blackstone Inc, KKR & Co, and others. Bloomberg sources with knowledge of the matter say that the firms have analyzed the prospects but have not committed to pursuing a buyout.
Co-founder and chairman of Ubisoft Yves Guillemot and his family are majority shareholders in the company with a collective 15-percent stake. Stock in the French game maker has dipped nearly 45 percent in the last year, with a market cap of 4.64 billion euros ($5.05 billion).
While the company seems ripe for the picking, investors are in very early deliberations and are unsure whether to proceed with offers. It is also not entirely clear if Ubisoft wants to be picked up. Guillemot and other execs have been vague on the matter and have kept their cards close to their vests.
French media giant Vivendi pursued a slow hostile takeover of Ubisoft for years. In 2017, Vivendi was poised to pounce holding a 26-percent stake. However, an uptick in valuation put the conglomerate’s plans on ice, ruining hopes for a takeover for at least six months.
Eleven months later, Vivendi announced it was divesting all interest in Ubisoft due to a three-year growth spurt that saw share values rise over 400 percent. It was a good move too, as stock has plummeted more than 64 percent, diving from $24.10 per share in July 2018 to its current price of $8.62. The drastic dip makes Ubisoft’s buyout price attractive for investors, while an injection of fresh capital might be enough to get the publisher back on track. Win-win.