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Report: Private Equity Eyeing Ubisoft As The Next Big Gaming Acquisition

ErRor88

Member

Private equity firms could be beginning to circle over Ubisoft, Bloomberg reported Friday. Talks are early, but include interest from firms like Blackstone Inc. and KKR & Co. Even if it’s not private equity, senior current and former Ubisoft developers Kotaku has spoken with in recent months believe the company will eventually sell to someone amid a flagging stock price and ongoing production struggles.

Bloomberg reports that Blackstone and KKR & Co., the two biggest private equity firms in the world, have been “studying the French business,” and have “preliminary takeover interest” in Ubisoft, but that the company hasn’t yet entered into “any serious negotiations with potential acquirers.”

According to Kotaku’s sources, Ubisoft has been working closely with several outside consultancy firms in recent years to audit various parts of its business. While companies will do this to become more profitable and prepare for the future, sources Kotaku spoke with suggest it’s a sign Ubisoft’s trying to tidy up its books for a potential sale.

On a wave of recent, big gaming acquisitions that include Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two buying Zynga, Sony buying Bungie, and Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to absorb Activision Blizzard, it seems like a game of eat or be eaten for those who remain. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said as much in an earnings call earlier this year, in which he placed the FIFA publisher firmly in the “big fish looking to eat other fish” camp.

Ubisoft has been more coy about its survival strategy. When asked in its most recent earnings call why the French publisher seemingly hadn’t received any bid interest, CFO Frédérick Duguet said he wouldn’t speculate on why no offer had been made, before being corrected by CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot. The company, Guillemot asserted, was neither confirming nor denying “if” potential buyers had approached it.

If someone did want to buy Ubisoft, they would be potentially getting it at a huge discount. The stock was over $110 a share in July 2018. Now it’s at $41. But they would still need to go through the Guillemot family, which is currently estimated to own 15% of the just under $5 billion market cap business.

CEO Yves Guillemot famously fended off a hostile takeover attempt by French media conglomerate Vivendi after securing funding from Tencent and others in 2018. But some sources currently and formerly within the company now believe the 35-year video game industry veteran might be looking for an exit strategy.

They point to the departure of his son Charlie Guillemot last year resulting in no relatives left to take over the family business. Ubisoft has also been hit by an ongoing wave of attrition among its senior talent. It continues to struggle with the aftermath of a workplace reckoning over sexual misconduct that began in the summer of 2020. And some of its biggest projects continue to face upheaval, delays, or be trapped in development hell.

As Bloomberg reported in February, Ubisoft decided to turn one of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s planned DLCs into a standalone stopgap game instead to help patch holes in its release calendar over the next 18 months. In the meantime, the next Far Cry, Ghost Recon, and full-fledged Assassin’s Creed games remain further out than Ubisoft had previously planned, according to three sources familiar with their development.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Ubisoft sent Kotaku the following statement:

We don’t comment on rumors or speculation. Ubisoft has unmatched creative and production capacities, with more than 20,000 talented people collaborating across our global studios on game development. Thanks to them and to our long-term approach and appetite for taking creative risks, we have built some of the industry’s strongest proprietary brands and have many promising new brands and projects on the horizon. We also have one the industry’s deepest and most diversified portfolios, cutting-edge services and technologies, and a large and growing community of engaged players. As a result, we’re ideally positioned to capitalize on the rapid industry growth and platform opportunities that are emerging right now.
 

Javthusiast

Gold Member
Formulaic Ubisoft games about to get even more formulaic and monetized.

Schitts Creek Do Not Want GIF by CBC
 
I know people hate Ubisoft but their games are big massive IP's
that would bolster anyone 1st party games lineup portfolio
fun fact Ass Creed as a franchise has sold over 155 million copies
that is more then Halo, God Of War, Gran Turismo, Elder Scrolls & Fallout franchises
say what you want about Ubisoft but they have massive gaming IP
 

Mr Hyde

Member
Outside of Assassin's Creed and Far Cry, it seems every game Ubi has is going down the toilet. Skull and bones, BG&E2 and that crazy wilderness game Michel Ancel was directing are all vapor ware. No Rayman, no indie darlings such as Child of Light or Valiant Hearts, no interesting new IPs on the horizon. Just recycled copy and paste open world games.
 

lh032

I cry about Xbox and hate PlayStation.
Microsoft should take them in.
I would love to see more studio mismanagement drama .
 

Esca

Member
Honestly if ubi was taken over by a company that actually cares about gaming not because of money alone i think we could see reboots of all their franchises going back to their roots which imo is great. Also it's ok to not be open world
 

KyoZz

Gold Member
I'm fucking mad right now. Ubisoft has amazing IP, they just don't know how to handle them.
Splinter Cell, Rayman, Ghost Recon/Tom Clancy, Prince of Persia, BGE, Anno and every other like Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs that have been completely mismanaged...

What a shame. They deserve what's coming but it's still sad to see how top execs have led this company to its downfall
 
I know people hate Ubisoft but their games are big massive IP's
that would bolster anyone 1st party games lineup portfolio
fun fact Ass Creed as a franchise has sold over 155 million copies
that is more then Halo, God Of War, Gran Turismo, Elder Scrolls & Fallout franchises
say what you want about Ubisoft but they have massive gaming IP
Gaming IP that people are really sick and tired of playing. I know I am done buying their garbage, and I have formerly been someone who bought a lot of their games for the past decade. After suffering through Far Cry 6, I've officially given up on the entire company. Don't care who buys them, I'm done with Ubisoft
 
I haven’t bought an ubisoft game in years. Feels like the most creatively bankrupt big publisher out of all the big western publishers, and thats saying a lot.

“Hey, you guys love assassins creed? How would you like it if we made it into a 10 year service game?”

“You guys love far cry? Would you like it more if we sold it to you in seasons instead?”

I downloaded the beta for Riders Republic and im sure theres a good game under all the ubisoft connect logins, and different terms of agreements, and just nonsensical advertising of their other products and services. Their games just feel scummy now, like there are corporate overlords forcing a bunch of bad decisions on otherwise interesting game concepts.
 
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jigglet

Gold Member
“no Guillemot left to take over”

That’s fucked but I can help. If there’s a hot Guillemont niece I can take one for the team and marry into a billionaire family. Watch my incompetence scrape through the bottom of the family barrel. I have all your support, right?
 
Gaming IP that people are really sick and tired of playing. I know I am done buying their garbage, and I have formerly been someone who bought a lot of their games for the past decade. After suffering through Far Cry 6, I've officially given up on the entire company. Don't care who buys them, I'm done with Ubisoft
You are just 1 person remember this Far Cry 6 is still play by the millions
it does not really matter that people on forums don't like it when we account for barely anything when compare with the masses
that are not on gaming forums that is why you see people saying they are sick of GTA 5 on gaming forums yet
look at it selling million year after year same thing with Ubisoft big games you hate it but the masses still buy and play it lol
 
You are just 1 person remember this Far Cry 6 is still play by the millions
it does not really matter that people on forums don't like it when we account for barely anything when compare with the masses
that are not on gaming forums that is why you see people saying they are sick of GTA 5 on gaming forums yet
look at it selling million year after year same thing with Ubisoft big games you hate it but the masses still buy and play it lol
Lol you're pretending that I'm the ONLY one who has gotten sick of their games.
 
Lol you're pretending that I'm the ONLY one who has gotten sick of their games.
Nah im not but again who else beside you how many maybe 1 thousands? 10 thousands? hell let make it 100 thousands? lol
still won't make any difference to the masses out there
maybe now you understand
 
I don't see any platform holder going after Ubisoft (maybe some of IPs at best). Ubisoft will fall. It is just too big and generates small profits.
 
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GHG

Member
You are just 1 person remember this Far Cry 6 is still play by the millions
it does not really matter that people on forums don't like it when we account for barely anything when compare with the masses
that are not on gaming forums that is why you see people saying they are sick of GTA 5 on gaming forums yet
look at it selling million year after year same thing with Ubisoft big games you hate it but the masses still buy and play it lol

I Dont Season 8 GIF by Friends


All I care about is whether their games are worth spending time with, and more often than not they aren't.
 

Hari Seldon

Gold Member
I still play a ton of siege. One of the few coop shooters that support 5 man squads. Not sure why they fucked up with that garbage zombie one. It is like interns made it.
 

MScarpa

Member
I love Ubisoft. Can't wait for them to team up and bring their games to Gamepass, I.E. EA Play. They have some fun games IMO. Not sure why everyone else hates them.
 

Ghost of Johto

Gold Member
“The stock was over $110 a share in July 2018. Now it’s at $41”

wow! No wonder they just copy/paste their shitty games.

trainwreck GIF
Why companies need to be less pressed over stock price and focus on crafting good games. Poorly run companies are too often held up by inflated valuations and little care over their intrinsic value.
 
I Dont Season 8 GIF by Friends


All I care about is whether their games are worth spending time with, and more often than not they aren't.
Agian this is not about you or me it about the masses
when Sony or MS think about buying a Studio or Publisher
they are thinking about the mass audiences potential
not the small numbers of people on gaming forums
why is that so hard for people to understand lol
 
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