Vivendi pushes forward with gaming ambitions

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Vivendi has succeeded in securing a majority of shares in Gameloft, the French games company subject to its hostile takeover bid since mid-February, according to local reports.

Vivendi secured the support of a majority of Gameloft shareholders at the end of last week, with the decision of Amber Capital, owners of a 15% stake, to sell seen as the tipping point. The media giant’s plan to take over the games provider was consistently opposed by the Guillemot family, founders of the company.

Gameloft is strong in the mobile gaming sector and has a solid and fast-growing advertising business.

Vivendi succeeded in securing its objectives through upping its offer for the company’s shares from €6 to €7.20 and then to €8

Industry observers now expect Vivendi to turn its attention to Ubisoft, the much larger game provider, also created by the Guillemots, in which it already holds a 17.73% stake and which is strong in the traditional gaming sector, owning a string of high-profile games including Assassin’s Creed.

Vivendi’s renewed interest in mobile and online gaming – it progressively sold off its 61.1% stake in US gaming giant Activision Blizzard between 2013 and 2016 – is seen by observers as being strategically in line with its acquisition of online video site Dailymotion from Orange. Dailymotion’s much larger global rival YouTube has invested significantly in the fast-growing world of e-sports with its launch of an app and website dedicated to game related content last year, while Amazon acquired e-sports leader Twitch in 2014.

Separately, Vivendi declared to the French markets regulator last week that it now owns 15% of retail giant Fnac, following its subscription to a capital increase by the group. Vivendi announced in April that it was taking the stake in the group as part of a wider strategic partnership focusing on the “enhanced visibility of cultural content”.