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Ubisoft attracting acquisition interest, reports suggest

Assassin’s Creed maker Ubisoft has attracted early takeover interest from several private equity firms, according to a new report.

At least two firms are eyeing up Ubisoft ahead of a potential future offer, Bloomberg has reported, though “serious negotiations” are yet to take place. These companies include Blackstone and KKR & Co., two of the world’s largest in the takeover market.

In a subsequent Kotaku report, sources suggested Ubisoft has been quietly auditing parts of its business over the past year – a potential sign it may be readying itself for a future suitor.

Ubisoft’s stock price has slumped over the past year but, as GamesIndustry.biz noted this morning, has now surged by nearly 20 percent since Bloomberg’s article on acquisition interest went live.

These snippets come just months after Ubisoft raised eyebrows by discussing the idea of a potential buyout during its annual end of financial year investor call.

Ubisoft famously fought off a hostile takeover bid by French media conglomerate Vivendi back in 2016, with a public campaign to keep itself independent at all costs.

In contrast, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot had this to say on the subject of a potential takeover bid this year:

“We have always taken our decisions in the interest of our stakeholders, which are our players, employees and shareholders,” Guillemot said. “So Ubisoft can remain independent. We have the talent, the industrial and the financial scale, and a large portfolio of powerful IP…

“Having said that, if there were an offer to buy us, the board of directors would of course review it in the interest of all stakeholders.”

Of course, much has changed for Ubisoft over the past few years. While Assassin’s Creed continues to go from strength to strength, and Valhalla was Ubisoft’s first game to gross $1bn in revenue, other franchises have seen less success.

Most notably, the company has struggled to emerge from its 2020 reckoning regarding employee harassment and workplace culture. Its recent stance on NFTs has also angered both staff and fans.

And then there are the changes to the overall gaming landscape, which has been shaken up by a flurry of mergers and acquisitions. In a world where Microsoft can bid $68bn to buy Activision Blizzard, what might Ubisoft sell for?

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