A new report suggests that Chinese gaming company and tech conglomerate Tencent is planning to increase its stake in Ubisoft. According to information gathered by Reuters, Tencent has its sights firmly set on becoming the French games publisher’s majority shareholder.
The report suggests that the Chinese social network and gaming firm has “reached out” to Ubisoft’s founding family the Guillemots, with a view to increasing its existing 5% stake in the company. The Guillemot family, which includes Ubisoft’s current CEO Yves Guillemot, owns 15% of the firm as things stand. Tencent owns 5% and the remaining 80% of shares are owned by public shareholders.
While the report notes that neither Tencent nor Ubisoft have commented on the reported deal, its claims that sources suggest Tencent is on something of a mission to become the largest shareholder in the company, with an offer of €100 per share at the top end. According to one of Reuters’ sources, “Tencent is very determined to nail down the deal as Ubisoft is such an important strategic asset for Tencent.”
While things are often turbulent behind the scenes when it comes to game development and publishing, there’s no doubt that the industry is seeing a bit of a downturn in consumers’ gaming consumption after the past two years of lockdown life. This latest move comes off the back of a decline in domestic game revenue for Tencent, which also holds shares in Epic Games, Riot Games and UK-based Frontier Developments. Ubisoft has recently reported some delays to big-name games such as Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and has also cancelled the development of Splinter Cell VR and Ghost Recon Frontline, alongside two other unannounced games.
Whether or not the move to buy out both the Guillemot family and a number of shares from Ubisoft’s public shareholders will go ahead, we’ll just have to wait and see. Either way, this is shaping up to be a pretty big year for large-scale acquisitions in the gaming world.