Rumors have swirled that Ubisoft may go on sale at some point in the very near future. This appears to have prompted many speculators to buy shares in the company, increasing its value by more than ten percent in just a few days.
The news comes from a series of Kotaku interviews with current and former Ubisoft developers who said a sale appears to be on the horizon. Stock values have been stuck in a slump for several years. Bloomberg previously reported that private equity firms such as Blackstone and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts were circling the business.
Blackstone and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts are among the largest investment firms in the world. They hold shares in dozens of different companies. According to Bloomberg’s report, the pair of private equity firms have “studied French activity” and developed “a preliminary buyout interest” in Ubisoft. The media, however, noted the absence of “any serious negotiations with potential buyers”.
Ubisoft has worked with consultants over the years, which Kotaku says could be an attempt to prepare for a potential sale. The timing would be about perfect given that Ubisoft has seen its stock market value drop from over $110 to just over $40 per share since 2018.
The trick is that any buyer would have to strike a deal with the Guillemot family who own around 15% of the company. Chief executive Yves Guillemot has already rebuffed a hostile takeover attempt by Vivendi, but the executive may now be willing to broker a deal. Guillemot no longer has any family members in the business since his son Charlie announced he would step down last year.
Ubisoft has so far remained silent on the possibility of a sale, noting only that “we do not comment on rumors or speculation.” The company added, however, that it happens to have “the deepest and most diverse portfolios in industry, services and cutting-edge technology, and a large and growing community of engaged players.” Ubisoft went on to say that “therefore, we are ideally positioned to capitalize on the rapid industry growth and platform opportunities that are emerging right now.
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