Report: Private Equity sees Ubisoft as the next big game acquisition

Private equity raiders note the struggling publisher Ubisoft.

Picture: Ubisoft

Private equity firms may start circulating on Ubisoft, Bloomberg reported Friday. Talks are early but include interest from companies like Blackstone Inc. and KKR & Co. Although not private equity, senior current and former Ubisoft developers Kotaku has spoken in recent months believes that the company will eventually sell to someone in the midst of a falling stock price and ongoing production battles.

Bloomberg reports that Blackstone and KKR & Co., the two largest private equity firms in the world, have “studied the French business” and have “preliminary acquisition interest” in Ubisoft, but that the company has not yet entered into “any serious negotiations with potential buyers . “

According to Kotakus sources, Ubisoft has worked closely with several external consulting firms in recent years to audit various parts of their business. While companies will do this to become more profitable and prepare for the future, sources Kotaku spoke with suggests that this is a sign that Ubisoft is trying to clean up its books for a potential sale.

On a wave of recent, major game acquisitions, which i.a. Grand Theft Auto published by Take-Two buys ZyngaSony buys Bungieand Microsoft’s $ 69 billion deal to absorb Activision Blizzard, it seems like a game of eating or being eaten for those who stay behind. This was stated by EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson in an earnings call earlier this year, in which he placed the FIFA publisher firmly in the camp “big fish looking to eat other fish”.

Ubisoft has been more reticent with its survival strategy. When asked in his latest earnings call why the French publisher had apparently not received any bidding interest, CFO Frédérick Duguet said he would not speculate as to why an offer had not been made before being corrected by CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot. The company, Guillemot claimed, was neither confirms or denies “if” potential buyers had approached.

A team from Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still waiting for the game to come out.

In addition to good and evil 2 has been soft cash and MIA for years.
Picture: Ubisoft

If someone would buy Ubisoft, they would potentially get it with a huge discount. The stock was above $ 24 per share. shares in July 2018. Now it’s under $ 9. But they would still need to go through the Guillemot family, which is currently estimated to own 15% of the market value business of nearly $ 5 billion.

CEO Yves Guillemot famous averted a hostile takeover attempt of French media conglomerate Vivendi after securing funding from Tencent and others in 2018. But some sources currently and earlier in the company now believe the 35-year-old veteran of the video game industry may be looking for an exit strategy.

They point to the departure of his son Charlie Guillemot last year which resulted in no relatives left to take over the family business. Ubisoften has also been affected by one ongoing abrasion wave among his senior talents. It continues to struggle with the aftermath of one in the workplace for sexual assault which began in the summer of 2020. And some of its biggest projects are still experiencing upheavals, delays or are trapped in development hell.

As Bloomberg reported in FebruaryUbisoft decided to become one of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s planned DLCs for a standalone stopgap game instead of helping to patch gaps in its release calendar over the next 18 months. Meanwhile the next Far Cry, Ghost Reconand fully Assassin’s Creed games remain longer than Ubisoft had previously planned, according to three sources familiar with their development.

When asked for a comment, a spokesman for Ubisoft posted Kotaku the following statements:

We do not comment on rumors or speculation. Ubisoft has unmatched creativity and production capacity, with more than 20,000 talented people collaborating across our global studies on game development. Thanks to them and our long-term approach and appetite for taking creative risks, we have built some of the industry’s strongest proprietary brands and have many promising new brands and projects on the horizon. We also have one of the industry’s deepest and most diversified portfolios, cutting-edge services and technologies, and a large and growing community of committed players. As a result, we are ideally positioned to take advantage of the rapid industrial growth and platforming opportunities that are emerging right now.