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Ubisoft safe from hostile Vivendi takeover

Christmas for Yves.

Ubisoft has emerged victorious in the long-running battle to stave off a hostile Vivendi takeover.

The publisher of Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Rainbow Six and Rayman has, over the last year, looked under real threat of being acquired.

Month on month, Vivendi steadily bought up shares until it finally owned 27.3 per cent of Ubisoft capital - close enough that it would soon be required to launch a formal takeover bid.

But Ubisoft - still owned and managed by its founding Guillemot family - made it clear the company was not up for sale.

The last two Ubisoft E3 conferences have concluded with an emphasis on the developers within Ubisoft, its diverse range of games and studios - and a firm desire to remain independent.

Last night, Ubisoft announced it had got its wish, and that Vivendi was selling up its entire stake.

Chinese megacorporation Tencent, which owns bits and pieces of many Western games companies, will buy a much smaller stake in Ubisoft and work with the company to expand its reach within China.

Somewhat bizarrely, The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan will also now own a stake in Ubisoft. Ubisoft will buy back other shares and the Guillemot family will personally acquire more.

And Vivendi isn't doing badly out of it all, either - it will net €2bn (£1.75bn) for the shares it had amassed.

Ubisoft is currently in a very strong position, with the return of Assassin's Creed and the establishment of several big franchises as successful live games - such as Rainbow Six Siege, For Honor and The Division. Too strong, it seems, for Vivendi to pursue its takeover bid any longer.

Here's Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot's full statement:

"The evolution in our shareholding is great news for Ubisoft. It was made possible thanks to the outstanding execution of our strategy and the decisive support of Ubisoft talents, players and shareholders. I would like to warmly thank them all.

"The investment from new long-term shareholders in Ubisoft demonstrates their trust in our future value creation potential, and Ubisoft's share buy-back will be accretive to all shareholders. Finally, the new strategic partnership agreement we signed will enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential.

"Today, Ubisoft is fully reaping the benefits of our long-term strategy and the successful transformation towards a more recurring and profitable business. Ubisoft is perfectly positioned to capture the numerous video game growth drivers in the coming years. We are focused more than ever on delivering on our strategic plan."

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