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Vivendi Universal may have slipped out of the gaming market when Activision-Blizzard took their market shares and went home, but it doesn't mean Vivendi wants to stay gone. In fact, they've been targeting Ubisoft in the past couple of years and the French company is trying desperately to stop the takeover.
Game Informer is reporting that Ubisoft is attempting to grow its board of directors in order to stifle the leadership role that Vivendi wants after buying up 20% of Ubisoft's shares.
The article notes that Ubisoft's board of directors has now grown to 10 members, with chief financial officer and senior VP of Wrigley, Florence Naviner, joining the board, along with Uber's Frédérique Dame.
The duo come at a time when one of the independent board members, Estelle Metayer, will be stepping down on September 29th. According to the Ubisoft press release, there are currently three other independent directors, including Laurence Hubert-Moy, Pascale Mounier and Didier Crespel. That number will increase to five come September 29 when Frédérique Dame and Florence Naviner are approved as independent directors.
Game Informer notes that this is a way to stay Vivendi's seemingly hostile approach to taking over Ubisoft. More board of directors will limit Vivendi's control over the software publisher, something that Ubisoft has been fighting vehemently in recent months.
According to Eurogamer, Vivendi recently stepped up their game after acquiring Gameloft earlier in June. The article notes that Vivendi most certainly wants a seat on Ubisoft's board of directors.
For those of you curious as to why Vivendi is being so aggressive, a lot of it has to deal with the fact that Ubisoft has very lucrative properties and are currently expanding their role in today's multimedia culture. They have a collaboration with 20th Century Fox on the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie, and have the Raving Rabbids television show currently on its third season.
Ubisoft also has a plethora of other properties that Vivendi would likely want to get their hands on, including Far Cry, Prince of Persia and Rayman. The company is also publishing the upcoming South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
Vivendi putting time and effort into trying to control Ubisoft may seem costly, but if they can manage to get a seat on the board and continue to grow their control of the company, they would have a huge influence on one of the largest publishers currently in the video game industry.
Ubisoft isn't all roses and cherry plums, though. Assassin's Creed has seen a major dip in sales following the abysmal reception to Assassin's Creed Unity. Their latest mainstream title, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, dipped well below market expectations and they decided to hold off on releasing another game this year, allowing the movie to take its place. They will be using the extra year to polish up the series for release next year.
They also had a rather less-than-stellar outing of Far Cry Primal earlier this year, resulting in a slow uptick of unit sales compared to other outings in the franchise, such as Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Far Cry 4.
Maybe after dealing with the board of directors situation involving Vivendi Universal, they can hopefully get back to focusing on making high quality games.