The gaming industry has been braced for a Ubisoft acquisition for a while. Allegations about the workplace culture, including sexual misconduct, made the company ripe for acquisition and reform by a larger entity. Early reports suggested Tencent had its eyes on the purchase, but a report from Bloomberg has now revealed its plans.
Tencent has invested approximately $300 million into a 49.9% stake in Guillemot Brothers Ltd., a company from the founding brothers behind Ubisoft. Guillemot Brothers holds the largest stake in Ubisoft, which Tencent now has claim to half. This is in addition to Tencent’s own direct stakes, which will be permitted to increase from 4.5% currently up to 9.99%. The deal also states that Ubisoft cannot expand its direct 9.99% stake for another eight years.
The end result here is that Tencent has a potential to reach a 16.8% stake in Ubisoft, according to Bloomberg’s calculations. Whilst far from an outright takeover, Tencent is hardly being subtle in their desire to have a significantly large amount of Ubisoft for themselves. The deal aims to expand Ubisoft’s mobile and PC gaming into China, the same justification for Tencent’s recent large purchase in the shares of FromSoftware.
The impact of Tencent’s new stake in Ubisoft will take a while to become visible, as the company works on the development of new games. A Ubisoft Forward event will reveal the company’s future gaming plans later this week, and we’ve got all the details here.
How do you feel about Tencent’s increasing presence in the gaming space? What would you do as a stakeholder in Ubisoft? Let us know in the comments below, and keep your eyes on GameLuster for more industry news.