For over a year now, the Guillemot family - which founded Ubisoft - has been working to stave off a hostile takeover by Vivendi, a French mass media conglomerate with stakes in television, film, and gaming. After already taking over control of Gameloft from Michael Guillemot last year, Vivendi now has its eyes set on his brother's, company.
In order to offset this attempt at a hostile takeover, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot today announced the company's plans to buy back four million of its own shares. The share buyback program, which was approved by shareholders at the company's general meeting last month, will be facilitated by an as-yet-unnamed investment services provider.
The repurchasing of the aforementioned shares would amount to 10% of the firm's capital, which will be cancelled after their acquisition by the company. In effect, this would retire the shares and make them unavailable for purchase by Vivendi or any other party, for that matter. The process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Vivendi currently owns 27% of the 30% of Ubisoft's capital shares it is required to own by French law before making a bid for the company and the retirement of these shares will put a wrench in the conglomerate's plans for a takeover.
Interestingly, according to Bloomberg, Vivendi has not yet made up its mind on whether it wants to make a bid for Ubisoft or not. Though, if it does, the repurchase of these shares will likely only be a momentary setback, instead of a permanent obstacle.
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