Assassin's Creed maker Ubisoft drops down 17% after Chinese considerable Tencent ups stake

Assassin's Creed maker Ubisoft drops down 17%

September 9, 2022: -Shares of games developer Ubisoft plunged more than 17% on Wednesday after prospects of a complete takeover were dampened following a move by Chinese tech company Tencent to increase its stake in the firm.

On Tuesday, the two companies said that Tencent is investing 300 million euros in Guillemot Brothers Limited, which amounts to a 49.9% stake. Tencent is getting 5% voting rights in the company.

Guillemot Brothers Limited is managed by the Guillemot family and is the entity that owns the majority of the family’s 15% stake in Ubisoft.

The Guillemot brothers founded Ubisoft in 1986 and have fought hard to keep the company independent and take care of a takeover.

Tencent’s investment values Ubisoft shares at 80 euros each, an 83% premium on Tuesday’s closing price, and gives it an indirect stake in the French game developer.

According to analysts, the move effectively closes the door on a complete takeover of Ubisoft by any party that investors were holding out for.

“This transaction does appear to signal that any total sale of Ubisoft to a strategic or financial buyer is unlikely. In our view, this should be experienced as a net negative for shares,” analysts at Cowen said in a note Tuesday.

As part of the deal, Tencent can increase its direct stake in Ubisoft from 4.5% currently to 9.99% of the capital or voting rights. But Tencent will not be able to market its shares for five years and will be unable to increase its stake in Ubisoft beyond 9.99% for eight years. That effectively rules out a complete takeover of the gaming firm.

Ubisoft’s drama started in 2015 when French media conglomerate Vivendi took a stake in the European gaming company, eventually becoming its biggest shareholder. But the Guillemot family was determined to keep the company independent.

In 2018, Vivendi dropped its pursuit of Ubisoft after a three-year battle. Tencent stepped in to buy some of the Ubisoft shares Vivendi offloaded, and the Chinese tech giant ended up owning a 5% stake in the games company.

Ubisoft has faced several challenges, including sexual harassment allegations and a lack of new hit titles.

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