The Guillemot family which founded Ubisoft is reportedly looking to partner with a private equity firm to arrange a formal acquisition of the company in order to fend off external buyouts.
That’s according to a report from Seeking Alpha (opens in new tab), which cites data from market news and analyst firm Dealreporter (opens in new tab)claiming that the Guillemot family wants to keep the “rein” of the company. The news is seemingly behind the 11% jump that Ubisoft’s share price has seen today.
The Guillemot family currently owns 16% of Ubisoft’s shares and 22% of its voting shares. It would need to buy a good deal more than that to gain control of the company, hence its apparent strategy to loop in a private equity firm.
This news comes on the heels of separate reports claiming that Ubisoft has attracted buyout interest from other private equity firms – so much so that some current and former employees have come to believe the company will indeed be sold. These talks were said to be in the early stages, but specific firms including Blackstone Inc. and KKR & Co. were listed as potential buyers.
This follows comments from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, who discussed the prospect of a buyout offer at the company’s February earnings call. This came during a white-hot period of deals and consolidation in the games industry, mere weeks after the double whammy of Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard and Sony buying Bungie, so it was unsurprising for the CEO to be asked about Ubisoft’s stance on potential acquisitions.
At the time, Guillemot affirmed that while Ubisoft “can remain independent,” the company would review acquisition offers. If today’s report is accurate, such an offer may come internally.
Ubisoft’s lineup remains in flux, with Skull and Bones now reportedly targeting a late 2022 launch and the troubled Prince of Persia remake being reevaluated at a new studio.