Ubisoft management, along with founder and CEO Yves Guillemot, have been meeting with potential investors hoping to build support for the founders and current management team in the face of a potential hostile takeover.
3000 Canadian jobs are at stake, as well as hundreds of millions in capital invested since the company opened its first studio there in 1997. Even though Ubisoft are based in France, their biggest development studio is in Montreal. That team have worked on some of Ubisoft's biggest franchises, including Assassin's Creed and Far Cry.
Although Mr. Guillemot thinks it unlikely that Vivendi would shut down the Canadian studios, he believes that the assets would be better protected if Ubisoft remained independent. The publisher has "a decision-making and operational agility" according to Guillemot, one that would apparently be lost under Vivendi.
Ubisoft are hoping to increase the number of Canadian shareholders to strengthen their control, and would even welcome government backing in resistance. The latter may yet come to fruition, with Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, touring the offices recently.
Mr. Guillemot and his brothers own about 9% of Ubisoft’s equity and 16% of the voting rights. Major shareholders Blackrock and Fidelity, which together own about 15% of the company, side with the brothers, but Guillemot believes they need 50% or more of the votes to block Vivendi from making board changes during the next annual shareholders meeting.
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