Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell…) could be the next big takeover of the video game industry. The French publisher would have been approached by two companies.
What if after the acquisition of Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, it was Ubisoft’s turn? This is the latest rumor supported by two different media. Several factors would agree on the fact that Yves Guillemot, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors is preparing such a sale behind the scenes. Candidates would also be in the running, but who are they?
Ubisoft bought by PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo?
Might as well evacuate the subject: no, PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo are not studying the takeover of Ubisoft. Or at least, that’s not what’s on the agenda. According to Bloomberg, investment funds Blackstone and KKR & Co. (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co) would consider this opportunity, without “serious” discussions having been initiated. These two structures are in any case among the most powerful in the world, and have invested in companies such as Panasonic, Orangina, MGM Resorts…
But is Ubisoft for sale? If the editor fought successfully against Videndi’s takeover bid, things took another turn. Ubi said it was ready to analyze any takeover offer. A statement that therefore did not fall on deaf ears.
According to Kotaku, however, Ubisoft has been active for the past few years and has called on various consulting firms to audit the different parts of its business. Apparently, the publisher would have done this with a clear goal: to clean up its accounts for a possible sale.
A publisher in difficulty, a perfect prey?
Now or never to be redeemed to limit damage? From Kotaku’s point of view, the stars are rather aligned and Yves Guillemot would organize his exit. With the departure of Charlie Guillemot, there would be no family member left to take over, hence the possible sale. But that’s not all.
The cases of sexual harassment and the deleterious work atmosphere could also be arguments to precipitate the takeover of Ubisoft by an external actor. Cases that have seen a host of senior developers leave, willingly or not, such as recently Patrick Plourde, creative director on Child of Light, Watch Dogs 2 and Far Cry 3. Numerous reports of misconduct had been filed with his against it but according to him, this is not the reason for his departure. Moreover, despite the allegations, he announced that he wanted to continue his collaboration with Ubisoft as a consultant. Proof that there is still work to clean up within the publisher.
Finally, and somehow related to these accusations, Kotaku hints that some of the big projects are still facing huge problems, delays and so on. Thus, the next Far Cry, Ghost Recon and Assassin’s Creed would not be on time with respect to Ubi’s internal schedule. And what about the Arlesians Beyond Good & Evil 2 or Skull & Bones which are still in development alongside a dozen new games.
The market capitalization is approximately 4.82 billion euros and for the sale, the Guillemot family will have to sell the 15% share.