In two weeks and one day, Ubisoft might face the biggest threat in its 30-year-history: an annual general shareholders meeting that will elect a Board of Directors and which could possibly open the door for a hostile takeover by Vivendi.
Vivendi has been sniffing around Ubisoft for much of the year. Just this summer, Vivendi managed to wrest Gameloft from the Guillemot family, which founded Ubisoft in 1986.
As Sept. 29 nears, Ubisoft continues to fortify its position with investors, promising that the company will do better under their guidance than as part of Vivendi.
Earlier this year, employees of Ubisoft created and launched a website entitled WeLoveUbisoft.Com. The site, which states "We stand together. We are Ubisoft." features more than 3,000 pictures of Ubisoft employees and fans, smiling.
The company itself launched another site called WeAre.Ubisoft.Com, which walks investors and fans through the key facts and figures of the company (did you know that the company’s 10,000 employees come from 94 countries and work in 32 studios worldwide?), an explanation of the creativity involved in doing what they do, a press kit and news.
And earlier this week, Ubisoft published a video on YouTube that has a number of employees explaining how "independence made a difference during their career at Ubisoft."
Vivendi, the principal shareholder in Activision-Blizzard before selling in 2013, owns a 20 percent voting stake.
Earlier this month, Guillemot Brothers SE agreed to purchase a maximum of 4,000,008 more shares of Ubisoft, or about another 3.5 percent of the company. That is on top of the 9 percent of the company the family already owned and 15 percent of the voting rights, according to a Bloomberg report.
On Sept. 21, Ubisoft is holding a press event at its Paris headquarters to both celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary and look toward the future.
A week later, stockholders will gather to, among other things, vote on whether to re-elect Yves Guillemot and Gerard Guillemot to the board and appoint Florence Naviner and Frederique Dame.
There is no suggestion in the resolutions for the shareholder meeting, that Vivendi will call for any votes, though the company is still allowed to make proposals at the meeting.
Ubisoft has long powered its successes through innovation and risk-taking, something we explored in a feature earlier this year.
Update: Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot shared his thoughts on the We Are Ubisoft website:
"When I decided to get into video games 30 years ago, it was because of the talented people working in the industry, their creativity and unique way of seeing the world," he wrote. "It was for people like Dan and many others like him at Ubi. Creating a welcoming environment, open to self-expression, risk taking and personal growth has always been at the heart of the Ubisoft project.
"This unique culture is what allows our teams to create incredible worlds where players can have fun, express themselves, achieve together and shine. Thanks Dan for sharing your story. #weareubisoft"