French mass media company Vivendi now claims mobile gaming studio Gameloft as a wholly owned subsidiary following a hostile takeover, and publisher Ubisoft may be the conglomerate’s next target, according to multiple sources.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Vivendi now owns a controlling share in Gameloft despite protests from its co-founders, and the studio’s current CEO, Michel Guillemot, is expected to resign later this month.
After an unsuccessful attempt to block Vivendi’s buyout via legal means, Gameloft’s Michel and Yves Guillemot were forced to sell their controlling shares in the company “with regret” this week, establishing Vivendi as Gameloft’s new owner.
“The family maintains that Vivendi’s hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams,” the Guillemot family said in a statement following the purchase.
Gameloft produced a string of hit gaming apps for mobile devices over the last several years, including the Call of Duty-inspired first-person shooter series Modern Combat. Other Gameloft-published mobile franchises include the arcade-styled Asphalt racing series and Dungeon Hunter, a loot-driven RPG optimized for touchscreens.
“You will join shortly an international content and media group where creativity is the heart of its organization and its activities,” Vivendi representatives said in a letter sent to Gameloft employees earlier this month. “We are very pleased to welcome you and to pool your talents with ours, so that together, we will be a stronger presence on the worldwide entertainment market.”
The letter continued: “In a buoyant digital environment that favors convergence between creative industries, the joining of Vivendi and Gameloft offers opportunities for cooperation in many areas: the co-creation of content, the development of new franchises, the building of wider communities and audiences and the pooling of our distribution networks, among other examples.”
Vivendi is reportedly eyeing former Gameloft parent company Ubisoft as its next hostile takeover target. Vivendi already owns a 17.7 percent stake in Ubisoft, though the company stated in a recent stock market filing that it has no plans for a buyout within the next six months.
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