For the last several years there have been constant ongoing stories about Vivendi looking to get back into the AAA publishing game by taking over the French outfit owned by the Guillemot brothers, Ubisoft. Slowly and steadily Vivendi bought up shares in Ubisoft, hoping to eventually take over the company. However, things have taken a complete 180 and Vivendi is now selling 27.3% of its share capital in Ubisoft.
CEO and co-founder of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot, explained that their 4D chess tactic seems to have paid off, mentioning in the press release on Global Newswire…
“The evolution in our shareholding is great news for Ubisoft. It was made possible thanks to the outstanding execution of our strategy and the decisive support of Ubisoft talents, players and shareholders. I would like to warmly thank them all. The investment from new long-term shareholders in Ubisoft demonstrates their trust in our future value creation potential, and Ubisoft’s share buy-back will be accretive to all shareholders. Finally, the new strategic partnership agreement we signed will enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential.”
What’s also interesting is that the Ontario Teachers’ have acquired 3.7 million Ubisoft shares representing 3.4% of capital in the company. Tencent also acquired 5.0% capital in the company. Both the Ontario Teachers’ and Tencent have opted out of having any representation on the Ubisoft board of directors.
According to the press release, Tencent is interested in the distribution rights for Ubisoft’s properties in China, given that foreign companies need a Chinese distribution partner if they plan to do business in the mainland. The press release explains…
“Tencent has also undertaken not to transfer its shares nor to increase its shareownership and votings rights in Ubisoft.
“As part of the transaction, Ubisoft and Tencent have also signed a strategic partnership agreement that will significantly accelerate the reach of Ubisoft franchises in China in the coming years.”
This is all part of Tencent’s continued accelerated growth across all media industries, not just gaming.
Distribution partnering with Ubisoft means that you’ll likely see Ubisoft properties published in mainland China by Tencent. The likelihood of this deal means that you can expect to see more Ubisoft properties frequently released on mobile devices in Southeast Asia. Expect stripped down Assassin’s Creed games on smartphones, and MOFPS style outings of Far Cry on mobile devices.
Tencent just recently took control of PUBG Corporation’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for release on mobile devices and for official distribution in mainland China. Tencent also recently partnered with the LEGO Group to publish Lego-themed games in China as well.
Tencent is the largest games and software publisher, and continues to expand exponentially. They currently control the most revenue in the mobile software market.
Tencent also has partnership stakes in Activision-Blizzard and controls distribution of games like Call of Duty in China as well.