Ubisoft founders, the Guillemot family, are set for a battle to retain control of their company with private equity firms looking to buy the beleaguered publisher.
Reports emerged last month that suggested that the Assassin’s Creed makers were the target of a number of interested private equity firms, deals that could potentially force the Guillemot family (who won 22.3 per cent of the net voting shares) out of the company that they founded over 36 years ago.
Now, it appears that the founders are ready to fight to retain control with a report in Seeking Alpha claiming the Guillemot family are hoping to partner with one of the interested private equity firms.
This isn’t the first time that Ubisoft has been the target of a takeover. In 2016, French media conglomerate Vivideni launch a takeover bid which Ubisoft publicly rebuffed.
A potential takeover of the company has been on the cards for a while though, with the company having a troubled few years. In 2020, news emerged of toxic workplace culture with allegations of sexual harassment and assault going to the very top of the organisation.
At the time, Ubisoft admitted they had “fallen short” with several employees leaving the studio over the matter. The company has also flirted with NFTs, a contentious issue with gamers and even Ubisoft’s employees.
Speaking in February of this year and reported in GamesIndustry.biz, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot suggested that a takeover may now be possible.
“We have always taken our decisions in the interest of our stakeholders, which are our players, employees and shareholders,” Guillemot said during Ubisoft’s annual end of financial year investor call. “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.”
If Ubisoft were to be taken over it would just be the latest in a series of big-money moves seen recently in gaming. Microsoft recently purchased Activision Blizzard (though the deal has yet to go through), with Sony picking up Bungie, and Take-Two buying mobile gaming giant Zynga.