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Report: Gameloft CEO to step down following Vivendi takeover (update)

Doubling down on preventing an Ubisoft acquisition

Following reports that Vivendi has succeeded in winning over Gameloft's major funders, Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot will resign from his position at the mobile game developer, according to Bloomberg. As a member of the family that owns both Gameloft and Ubisoft Entertainment — which Vivendi is also said to have its eyes on —  Guillemot is now expected to dedicate his effort to protecting Ubisoft from a Vivendi takeover.

Vivendi issued an open letter to Gameloft employees yesterday, seemingly confirming the forthcoming bid for the mobile studio.

"We have much to gain from close collaboration with Gameloft's teams and all its partners," Vivendi executives wrote in the letter. "You will take part in a great collective adventure as Vivendi pursues its ambitious redeployment in content and media. This plan will rely above all on your talents and creative freedom."

Following the successful bid — Vivendi already owns more than 30 percent of Gameloft — Bloomberg reports that Vivendi will appoint members to Gameloft's board of directors later this month. If Michel Guillemot steps down, Bloomberg said, he'll do so to regroup with his brother, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, along with the rest of the clan to ensure Ubisoft's financial future.

Vivendi hasn't revealed any intentions to pull a takeover of Ubisoft similar to its acquisition of Gameloft. Despite that, Ubisoft was reportedly seeking investors in February to thwart a potential Vivendi takeover. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told The Globe and Mail of Toronto that they were recruiting Canadian shareholders to retain control of the company. Ubisoft employs about 3,000 people in Canada, most of them in Quebec.

Vivendi is no stranger to major video games publishing. In 2007, its buy-in effectively created the conglomeration known as Activision-Blizzard today. The French company was the majority shareholder of that subsidiary until 2013, when its stake was bought out for a combined $8.1 billion.

Ubisoft is currently valued at $4.4 billion, with its recent finances bolstered by titles like Tom Clancy's The Division.

Update: In an email obtained by Game Informer, Guillemot confirmed his impending exit from Gameloft. With Vivendi's majority control taking effect June 1, Guillemot wrote that a change of management will follow at the shareholders meeting on June 29.

"Until that change of management, I remain the President and CEO of Gameloft with full authority, no one else has the right to give you instructions!" Guillemot told employees. "After that change, I shall not be in the company; a new management with a new strategy will have taken over."

Guillemot did not say what his next steps were. He did tell employees that the company's future lies with them, suggesting that some might follow his lead and exit the company.

"As you know, I have always favored freedom and encouraged you to make your own choices," he wrote. "It is your future you are building.

"Whatever the choice you will make, you will always for me be part of the unique community of creators who have participated to this great adventure and built Gameloft."

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