Ubisoft has signed a deal to buy another 3.2 percent of its own stock from a French investment bank for $137.5 million as the video game publisher prepares to ward off a hostile takeover from Vivendi.
Ubisoft has been in the middle of a takeover battle with Vivendi, a French media conglomerate that has accumulated 20 percent of the game maker’s stock. Ubisoft has an annual meeting coming up on September 29 where the two companies will tussle over board seats.
Paris-based Ubisoft, the maker of games such as Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs 2, is buying 3.625 million shares from Banque Publique d’Investissement (Bpifrance, a French investment bank) for €33.80 ($37.95) per share, representing a total amount of €122.5 million ($137.5 million). This transaction, which fits into Ubisoft’s share buyback program, will close by the beginning of November 2016.
“We want to express our warm gratitude to Bpifrance for its support during all these years,” said Yves Guillemot, the cofounder and CEO of Ubisoft.
The shares will be allocated to the employee shareholding plans, the convertible bond issued through a private placement on September 21, 2016 and/or to potential external growth operations.
Ubisoft has more than 10,000 employees, and it has been touting its 30-year heritage this year with promotions such as the We are Ubisoft website. Meanwhile, the company keeps expanding its business, launching a book publishing division yesterday for Assassin’s Creed books.
Ubisoft also noted that market researchers NPD and GfK noted that the company has led sales in the North America, Europe, and Australia to date with game sales. It has a 14.9 percent market share in Europe and Australia, 16 percent in the U.S., and 13 percent in Canada. To date, Tom Clancy’s The Division is its top seller for the year. Other big sellers are Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Far Cry Primal. It launches Watch Dogs 2 on November 15 and Just Dance 2017 on October 25.
Early next year, Ubisoft is launching For Honor, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon and South Park: The Fractured But Whole.