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Ubisoft founding family likely to oppose full takeover, report suggests

Shares rise as private equity deal mooted.

Ubisoft looks to be readying itself to fight off a potential future takeover bid, according to a new report.

Recent details suggested Ubisoft was being circled by several private equity firms, and Ubisoft itself has addressed the possibility it will be bought during a recent investor briefing.

Now, mergers and acquisitions site Dealreporter (via SeekingAlpha) has suggested Ubisoft's founding Guillemot family is looking to partner with one of these private equity firms while retaining control of the company - a move designed to see off a full-scale takeover attempt by another party.

Ubisoft famously fought off a hostile takeover bid by French media conglomerate Vivendi back in 2016, with a public campaign to keep itself independent at all costs.

But the landscape has now changed. Ubisoft has suffered a damaging couple of years as it reckons with reports into its workplace culture. Its recent stance on NFTs has also angered both staff and fans.

And while Assassin's Creed has done well, other projects - such as the Prince of Persia remake, vapourware Beyond Good and Evil 2, and the long-delayed Skull and Bones have all been seen to falter.

This year has seen a flurry of high-profile acquisitions in the games industry, with Microsoft's proposed deal to buy Activision Blizzard, Sony buying Bungie, and Take-Two purchasing Zynga.

"We have always taken our decisions in the interest of our stakeholders, which are our players, employees and shareholders," Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot said in February. "So Ubisoft can remain independent. We have the talent, the industrial and the financial scale, and a large portfolio of powerful IP...

"Having said that, if there were an offer to buy us, the board of directors would of course review it in the interest of all stakeholders."

Today's word of a potential deal with a private equity firm has seen Ubisoft stock rise 10 percent, although the company's share price is still well below where it was a year ago.

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Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.


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