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EA to buy 20% share in Ubisoft


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PARIS, Jan 26 (Reuters)

Electronic Arts (EA), the world's largest video game maker and owner of almost 20 percent of Ubisoft, said it might buy more of the French company and would not rule out taking a controlling stake.

"At its quarterly conference call with financial analysts, EA stated it wanted to keep all its options open regarding this investment and could buy more Ubisoft shares, possibly a controlling stake," EA said in a statement issued after the call late on Tuesday.

The statement quoted Finance Director Warren Jenson as saying: "If something happens, we expect it to be with the full cooperation of Ubisoft."

Jenson also said EA's stake in Ubisoft was "a good investment" and that EA was "ready to stay as a long-term minority shareholder".

EA would pay 19.69 euros per share for the 3.5 million Ubisoft shares it agreed to buy last month, it said.

Ubisoft shares were quoted down 0.32 percent at 30.78 euros by 1048 GMT on Wednesday.

The shares have gained 82 percent since EA bought a 19.9 percent stake on Dec. 20, sparking speculation it could launch a bid for Ubisoft.

Ubisoft Chairman Yves Guillemot said last week that a study by Ubisoft's adviser Calyon, the investment bank of Credit Agricole, valued Ubisoft at 33-35 euros a share based just on its studios and brands.

Ubisoft, which has vowed to stay independent, has dismissed EA's approach as hostile until it gets more information.

Last week Guillemot said that, though Ubisoft had been in contact with EA, it still did not have a clear idea of its intentions.

Guillemot also said he was working on organising a defence against a potential bid and was talking with investors.

EA noted in its statement that Ubisoft management had said it would ensure the interests of its shareholders. "We cannot ask for better," EA said.

EA is now Ubisoft's largest shareholder, ahead of Ubisoft's founders the Guillemot brothers, who together own 17.5 percent.

But the brothers still control 22.8 percent of the voting rights, against 18.4 percent for EA.

Caisse des Depots et Consignations, a state-owned French financial institution, owns about 6 percent of the capital. According to market sources, BNP Paribas has a 4 percent stake.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved

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I don't know, I havent been overly impressed with UBI after they bought RSI. Its my opinion (and I know what they say about opinions...lol) that while RSI has been doing a great job its been off set by the poor managment of UBI. I'm not trying to start a flame war here, just stating an opinion.

Edited by Inc_Doc
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EA Completes Purchase of Ubisoft Shares

By: César A. Berardini - "Cesar"

Feb. 3rd, 2005 4:31 am

Electronic Arts announced today that it has completed its previously announced purchase of shares of Ubisoft Entertainment. The investment represents approximately 20 percent interest in the company.

Back in December, Ubisoft said it will consider EA's investment as hostile until it got more information from EA. Although the French government worked actively to encourage Vivendi Universal, France's largest media group, to invest in Ubisoft in the event of a hostile bid, VU denied it was interested in acquire shares of Ubisoft.

We'll have more on Electronic Arts' moves as they develop.

EA now owns 20% of UBI. After taking accounting and finance this is some interesting stuff!

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With all this talk of big companies controlling the market, by controlling licensing rights to games of events/films etc etc.This does lead me to believe gaming is going where Hollywoods going.

OvertheTop action, sequel on sequel, and no originality.

For me great films these days seem to come from small time directors like Peter Jackson (Lord of The Rings) but does anyone remember his early films, Brain Damage, Meet the Feebles .......

I remember what made me go and buy my first Playstation. A small gaming company called CORE released a game called Tomb Raider.It was original and nothing like I played before.But alas they fell into the grips of globalisation.

I've never been one to buy games like F1 2004, F1 2005, F1 2006, etc etc (if you catch my drift). GR1 was a game that stood out from the rest at its time, it was original, unique and god damn playable.I know gamers like myself are in a minority but believe those that come up with games that have something the others don't have will always be a threat to huge global companies.

Very few sequels ever manage to deliver what the original had, but some do.I hope RSE can deliver GR2 in the way the Peter Jackson's and Ridley Scott's have delivered their sequels, before they too are forced to deliver globalised tack.

Quote Ridely Scott on a 5th Alien film :- "I think they've wrung it dry."

Personally Alien 3 was scraping the barrel. In a world where money talks and those with the money make the decisions, i fear creativity suffers.

Bring on more of those guys with enough gall to create something unique and different from the same old drab these global companies are intent on delivering to us.

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Nice read, but nothing new really when it comes to working for large companies.

This is the reason some of us felt people should lay off a bit with their constant postings about GR2.Anyone whos ever worked for a large company knows the pressure put upon the workforce and the little respect they get for their efforts.

The Gaming industry is as cut-throat as it gets when Billions $ are concerned.

Its this sort of globalisation i hate with a passion.It destroys not only the people who work for them, but the minds of the consummers who for some reason think they have to buy their products because thats whats out there and they are suckered by their marketing.

People need to relalise that the consumer does have the power to say NO, thats crap and i aint gonna buy it.Hurt them where it hurts most, their pockets!!!

This is why i believe small companies have more to offer their employers and the consumer.And they are also that little bit more creative, because they are free to be so.IMO Its this diversity people should be backing and not the corporate giants when they go spending their money.

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Electronic Arts May Buy More Ubisoft Shares

By: César A. Berardini - "Cesar"

Feb. 10th, 2005 12:52 pm

This Reuters story reports that Electronic Arts may add to its almost 20 percent stake in Ubisoft and seek representation on its board.

EA said in a French filing that it might sell or buy more Ubisoft shares, including a controlling stake. The statement echoed comments that EA managers made last month at a conference call with financial analysts.

EA said at the time it wanted to "keep all its options open regarding this investment in Ubisoft and could buy more Ubisoft shares, possibly a controlling stake".

EA is now Ubisoft's largest shareholder and has 20.88 percent of its voting rights. The Guillemot brothers, Ubisoft's founders, together own 17.5 percent and still control 22.8 percent of the voting rights.

Edited by EasyCo
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PARIS (Reuters) - Ubisoft and U.S. giant Electronic Arts are holding talks two months after Ubisoft dismissed EA's acquisition of a near-20 percent stake in the French video game maker as "hostile," the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday.

The talks are still preliminary and running parallel with other approaches that family-run Ubisoft is making to broker solutions that might shake off a bid from EA but they could be the beginning of an eventual agreement between the two, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Ubisoft declined to comment.

EA, the world's largest video game maker, earlier this month reiterated it might add to its stake in Ubisoft and seek representation on its board.

Tentative talks between both companies are on the takeover price EA might be willing to pay and how Ubisoft's management might be reshaped, the Wall Street Journal said.

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