Ubisoft once stressed its desire to remain independent as it tried to fight off an apparent takeover bid by Vivendi, but the publisher is now taking a very different tone around takeovers.
In its third quarter earnings release, Ubisoft raised the issue of consolidation in the industry immediately before pointing out that “Ubisoft’s assets have never been stronger at a time when asset values have not never been so high”.
When asked on a post-earnings conference call today if this meant now would be a good time to sell, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot and CFO Frédérick Duguet struck a very different tone on the question.
“We have always made our decisions in the interest of our stakeholders, who are our players, our employees and our shareholders,” Guillemot said. “Thus, Ubisoft can remain independent. We have the talent, the industrial and financial scale, and a large portfolio of powerful IPs…
“Having said that, if there was a takeover offer, the board would of course consider it in the interest of all stakeholders.”
Later in the call, executives were asked why Ubisoft hadn’t received an offer yet given the value of its IP address.
Duguet replied: “We won’t speculate on why people haven’t made any offers”, before Guillemot intervened to clarify “if no offers were made.”
“Absolutely,” said Duguet. “So I can’t comment further on that. What we can say is that, as we mentioned, we have high value assets. We have the scale to stay independent and create value very meaningful going forward because we have scale in terms of workforce, as well as engineering, technology, IPs and fully engaged communities.”
During the attempt to take over Vivendi in 2015, Guillemot was more vehement on the subject: “Our intention is and has always been to remain independent, a value which, for 30 years, has allowed us to innovate, take risks, creating beloved franchises for gamers around the world, and helping the company become the leader it is today. We will fight to preserve our independence.”