Although Vivendi continues to promise that it doesn't plan on a hostile takeover of Ubisoft, the company still seems to want some control over the publisher.
Just a few days after E3, Vivendi bought even more stock in Ubisoft, the game developer behind The Division and Assassin's Creed, gaining 20.1 percent of Ubisoft shares, as well as 17.76 percent of voting rights.
Vivendi has been steadily buying shares of Ubisoft for several months now, with a previous purchase occurring in May that gave it 15.66 percent of voting rights and 17.73 percent of control over Ubisoft's capital. These purchases have Ubisoft concerned, because the developer believes it's a sign that Vivendi plans to take over the company.
"This is a confirmation of their habitual strategy of creeping control, in which they say they have no intention to take control of Ubisoft while steadily increasing their stake and preparing an offensive at the next Annual Shareholders Meeting," a spokesperson for Ubisoft wrote to Game Informer back in April. "This strategy of successively announcing conflicting intentions is contrary to good corporate practices and is not in the best interests of Ubisoft's other shareholders."
In 2013, Vivendi received an $8 billion bailout package from Activision. Since then, the multimedia corporation has continued to increase its holdings in the video game industry. The company took over Gameloft by slowly acquiring enough stock to take over 30 percent of that company. The Guillemot brothers founded Gameloft and currently head Ubisoft.
Ubisoft vows to fight Vivendi every step of the way, but each time Vivendi gains shares in the company, that battle will become much more difficult. The company has not yet commented on Vivendi's latest acquisition but previously stated that it plans on retaining its independence. Ubisoft stated that, "despite our repeated written requests," Vivendi hasn't communicated with the company on any kind of "supposed cooperation."
Vivendi still maintains that it doesn't want a hostile takeover. Meanwhile, Ubisoft will consider other options, including a potential merger (although not with Vivendi) that could help it maintain its current position.
"We have Plan A and Plan B," Ubisoft co-founder Yves Guillemot said to MSNBC. "Plan A is to remain independent. Plan B is going with another group, either in the game industry or with a technology or other types of company [sic]. Those are the two options at this point and they are both still open."
Guillemot refrained from making further comments about the potential merger, saying that they will make an announcement "in due time."