The Guillemot family is giving up on the inevitable in its battle with Vivendi.
The family said it would sell the majority of its shares in mobile game publisher Gameloft to Vivendi, which has been waging a months-long campaign to take over Gameloft. It recently said it controlled the majority of shares.
Michel Guillemot is chief executive Gameloft (and a member of the family that also founded Ubisoft), and he and his family held about 21.7 percent of Gameloft’s stock. Vivendi controls 56 percent of Gameloft’s voting rights, and the French media conglomerate said it planned to appoint a majority of new directors to the mobile game publisher’s board at its June 29 annual meeting. Vivendi, which used to own a big stake in Activision Blizzard, wants to get back in the games business.
“The family maintains that Vivendi’s hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams,” the Guillemot family said in a statement. But it reluctantly decided to sell most of its shares to Vivendi.
Vivendi said last week that Gameloft would benefit from its strong financial backing. But Michel Guillemot is expected to resign once the takeover is complete. Vivendi is also buying shares of Ubisoft, the French blockbuster game company (maker of Assassin’s Creed) that was also started by the Guillemot family. Yves Guillemot is CEO of Ubisoft, and he has noted that he does not wish for Vivendi to take control of the company. Vivendi now owns 17.7 percent of Ubisoft and is seeking board representation.
In a positive development for Ubisoft, its Hungry Shark World mobile game — the sort of title you would expect to come from Gameloft — has taken off and given Ubisoft a foothold in the modern mobile gaming business.