Last week, Vivendi made an abrupt return to the video game industry by dropping a mere $160 million from its $10 billion reserves for a 6.6 percent purchase of Ubisoft. In response, Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot is not pleased and does not have nice words for the company at all, saying that the purchase was “unsolicited and unwelcome.”
In an email exchange with GamesIndustry International, Guillemot isn’t at all shy about sharing his thoughts on Vivendi, claiming that it is often “aggressively pursuing companies within the entertainment sector” and doesn’t “understand our expertise and what it takes to succeed in this industry.” Some within the company fear that this was merely the beginning, and Vivendi will make further steps to own a majority of Ubisoft.
To that, Guillemot promises that Ubisoft will “fight to preserve [its] independence.” It is so on like Donkey Kong, or maybe Rayman in this case.
Vivendi has owned many stakes in video game companies before, extending its reach to Sierra, Blizzard, and Activision. Most recently, Activision Blizzard, which still controls Sierra, wrestled itself back into independence by buying itself out for $8 billion.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft has been showing a bit of growing pains lately, falling prey to the criticisms of larger publishers like EA and Activision over DLC and microtransactions, botched AAA launches, severely over-hyping games, and other similar situations that major companies deal with. The last thing it needs right now in battling this growing corporate image is even more corporate overlords.
Don’t expect this relationship to get any nicer.