The battle for Gameloft (and for Ubisoft) turns on: the French mobile videogame producer announced Monday February 29 that it refuses, judging too low, the offer of 6 euros per share made by Vivendi, French company controlled by Breton businessman Vincent Bollore which at the beginning of 2016 has definitely left the capital of Activision Blizzard givinga way to a financial investor its residual 5.7% for one billion dollars.
Immediate reply from Vivendi, which already controls 30% of Gameloft and therefore was obliged to launch a takeover bid, that after a few hours officially raised its offer to 7.2 euros per share, for an overall assessment of the group of about 610 million euro. Gameloft board of directors also noted that Vivendi “does not have a single business that could offer Gameloft synergies” also criticizing the fact that Vivendi has simultaneously increased its stake in sister company Ubisoft from 14,9% to 15,66%. Both companies were founded and still are controlled by brothers Michel and Yves Guillemot (shareholders with 9,3% participation in Ubisoft and 20,29% participation in Gameloft), determined to remain independent, but the double Bollore’s move leads to the belief that the French financier wants to detect both companies, with Ubisoft which however may be the “consolatin price” should the assault on Gameloft fails.
Moreover the tactic used is typical of Bollore (sharoholde among the other of Italian merchant bank Mediobanca with a share of 8%): start buying a minority stake and then increase it to above the level that makes it mandatory to launch a public tender offer ethereby acquire control of prey, but always leaving open the possibility of an “armistice” agreement providing for the acquisition of some activities linked to the “prey” or its shareholders
Among the companies that Vivendi, the group that controls how multimedia company Universal Music Group and Canal Plus and which has a more than a 20% stake in Telecom Italia (which controls Tim Brasil, for many the real target of Bollore), there is also still no manufacturer of video games for mobile devices and Gameloft with its 147 million of monthly active players (19 million daily active players), a distribution network covering over 100 countries, titles such as Minion Rush, Asphalt Airborne 8, One & Friends, Little Pony and World at Arms, could be the ideal prey, even because Bollore is the controlling shareholder, at 60%, also of Havas, one of the largest communication and advertising agencies in the world.
Ubisoft, by the way, remains the third largest producer of video games in the world behind Electronic Arts and Activison Blizzard and it has by its side titles like Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed (which is due out in December, a film produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox with Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch) and Watch Dogs, in addition to producing television series such as the Rabbids and to have entered into partnerships with major Hollywood studio like Sony Pictures, Warner or Fox itself. Ubisoft could therefore bring valuable content to be distributed later on the various channels, from cinema to television, from the gaming world to the web.
To look at the evolution of the game for Ubisoft and of Gameloft are also the current top management of Telecom Italia: with purchases in recent weeks Vivendi is in fact increased to 22,79% the capital of the former Italian state monopoly, on whose Board of Directors entered, with four representatives in the board, after the shareholders meeting held in December. If you want to know how it will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it e su Paper.li and also on Youtube).