Vivendi have been encroaching on the Guillemot Brothers territory for a while. The French conglomerate is believed to have just completed a hostile takeover of Gameloft which was previously run by Michel Guillemot, chief executive of the mobile developer. This was after months of the Guillemot family trying to block the take over, and now it is expected that Michel will step down.
This could spell bad news for Ubisoft too. Michel’s brother Yves Guillemot, currently sits at the head of Ubisoft. Vivendi, who are attributed as having quite a hands on approach with game companies in the past, recently bought 18 votes on Ubisoft’s board, out purchasing the Guillemots by three. Vivendi have said that they don’t plan to take over Ubisoft in the same way they did with Gameloft, but the brothers are thought to be launching a counteraction campaign to protect the company. Yves has made it clear in the past that the take over isn’t wanted and that he wants to keep Ubisoft independent.
Why does all this matter to us, the people who play? It’s hard to say. Ubisoft are independent, but they are as AAA corporate as they come. They do seem to like giving small projects the go ahead and supporting artists. Maybe that disappears if they are taken over. Maybe the sequel culture at Ubisoft gets even worse. Maybe it shakes the company up creatively? Right now it is hard to say, but it could have massive implications one way or the other.