Ubisoft keeps Vincent Bolloré off the board
Ubisoft keeps Vincent Bolloré off the board. Image credit: Polygon.

France, Paris – Ubisoft Entertainment annual shareholders meeting concluded, and its principal shareholder, Vivendi SA CEO Vincent Bolloré, still does not have a seat on the board. Ubisoft’s board supported its members on recent strategies and reelected current executives.

The French billionaire, chairman of a mass media conglomerate, refrained from seeking representation on the video game company. Vivendi already has 23 percent stake at Ubisoft, and such a move would give him a more dominant role in the enterprise even allowing a hostile takeover.

For the time being, he has no influence at the director’s table. Instead, Vivendi went its way to abstain from voting on all resolutions the board presented on Thursday, including one that reappointed two of the company’s founders, Yves and Gérard Guillemot,  as directors.

Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot.
Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot. Image credit: US Gamer.

After the meeting, Vivendi issued a press release that explains the conglomerate would like a representation in the company’s board considering its level of interest.

The threat of a hostile takeover

The Vivendi chairman has often used shareholders meetings and resolutions to obtain control of business over the past three decades. He commanded Vivendi with just a 15 percent stake and guided the company’s hostile takeover in May of Gameloft SE, another Guillemot family business.

A hostile takeover happens when another company buys shares directly from the shareholders while skipping the necessary approval of the board.

Ubisoft has taken extraordinary measures to investors from dealing directly with the shareholders. However, Vivendi has steadily increased its stake in Ubisoft over the past year.

The media has a great keen interest in the $100 billion video game industry that now spreads to movies, series, theme parks, and popular culture, not to mention it is also a growing professional sport.

Vivendi SA CEO Vincent Bolloré.
Vivendi SA CEO Vincent Bolloré. Image credit: Alchetron.
The conglomerate says it will continue to pursue the video game business, including their desire to get representation in Ubisoft’s board. They have been pressing on this matter since last April. 

A fissure between Belloré and Ubisoft 

The recent reunion was an opportunity for the conglomerate to seize its goals. However, the event saw disagreements between Ubisoft and its principal stockholder that are pushing back the takeover plans.

As Vivendi’s chairmen did not vote on any resolution, Ubisoft’s press release described his behavior as a “systematic obstruction” that damages the proper functioning of the company.

In particular, the document states there are strong differences regarding the size of Belloré’s paycheck or “compensation policy for its talents.”

Either way, it was a victory for the Guillemot brothers and a defeat for Vivendi. According to French reporters, the shareholder’s reunion concluded with a round of applause and with CEO Yves Guillemot looking “very relieved.”

Source: Wall Street Journal

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