Infogrames could help Ubi fight EA takeover - Bonnell

European industry rallies to Ubisoft following EA's "hostile" stock purchase.

The head of Europe's largest publisher Infogrames, Bruno Bonnell, has said that his firm could be ready to help French rival Ubisoft to fight any takeover bid by industry leader Electronic Arts.

Speaking to news agency Reuters, Bonnell expressed his hope that Ubisoft will remain independent - and rubbished EA's claim that its recent purchase of almost 20 per cent of the firm's stock was merely an investment.

"Electronic Arts certainly did not enter Ubi Soft's capital to just stay at that level," commented the Infogrames CEO, who is also creative director of the company's Atari subsidiary. "I hope Ubi Soft will find ways to defend itself so that Infogrames does not become the last bastion in the European video games industry."

"It would be a pity to see great European creations end up in a relatively hegemonic U.S. conglomerate," he continued.

Bonnell said that Infogrames could be ready to assist Ubisoft in fighting off any hostile takeover attempt by Electronic Arts, but he did not go into any detail about what the company might be able to do - saying only that "when Ubi Soft has defined the limits within which it is prepared to work, they know we are ready to listen."

His pledge comes after newspaper reports suggested that the French government is also watching the situation carefully, and may step in to help Ubisoft if a hostile takeover bid materialises.

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