Tencent seeks to become single-largest Ubisoft shareholder – report

Tencent is trying to become Ubisoft’s single-largest shareholder – overtaking that of the company’s founding Guillemot family.

That’s according to a new Reuters report, which cites a number of sources close to the company with knowledge of ongoing discussions.

Tencent already owns around five percent of Ubisoft (alongside chunks of dozens of other video game companies). Now, it’s seeking more.

According to Reuters, Tencent has offered “way above” the company’s current share valuation in order to sweeten the deal – around €100 per share, close to the company’s previous best, from 2018.

Currently, 80 percent of Ubisoft shares are publicly owned. 15 percent are owned by the Guillemots, who are the company’s largest single shareholders. Tencent owns the remaining five.

Historically, Ubisoft has resisted attempts to wrestle control of the company away from its founders. Indeed, the Tencent deal was seen as a way to ward-off another hostile takeover bid in the style of Vivendi, back in 2016.

But more recently, Ubisoft has been seen to have softened its stance – following a bruising couple of years where long-term boss Yves Guillemot’s own future has been questioned.

In May, Guillemot said it would consider all acquisition offers, though had everything it needed to remain independent.

“We have the talent, the industrial and the financial scale, and a large portfolio of powerful IPs to create massive value in the coming years. It has provided us with the plan to build strategic partnership with the biggest players in the entertainment and tech.”

One scenario floated back in April suggested Ubisoft might consider investment from the private equity sector to ward off another full-scale takeover attempt – while still retaining control of the company overall.

Ubisoft has declined to comment on this latest report.