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Vivendi ups Ubisoft share ownership to 20%, but delays takeover

Vivendi has increased its stock holding in Ubisoft, taking itself past the 20% watershed but denying that a hostile takeover bid is imminent.

Thanks to a purchase late last week, Vivendi now owns 20.1% of the French publisher. Whilst a public offer would have to be made to buyout the firm at 30% ownership, Vivendi has issued a statement claiming that it doesn't intend to buy itself to that crunch point for at least six months and that it is looking for "a fruitful cooperation" with Yves Guillemot's company.

"Vivendi is considering asking for a recomposition of the Ubisoft Board of Directors in order to, among other things, obtain Board representation consistent with its shareholder position," the statement reads. "Vivendi's investment in Ubisoft's business sector is part of a strategic vision of operational convergence between Vivendi's content and platform and Ubisoft's productions in the field of video games."

The manoeuvre is a continuation of the aggressive acquisition of industry assets by Vivendi which saw it take majority control of Gameloft earlier this year in a hostile takeover. This move was strongly contested by Gameloft management, including CEO and brother of Yves, Michel Guillemot, who said that the buyout was "against the best interests of Gameloft."

Ubisoft's shares rose by 4.4% following the purchase, whilst Vivendi climbed 3.4%.

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