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Vivendi finish selling Ubisoft shares from failed takeover


It's the end of another long day at Fags & Mags & Rab(bid)s, a wee family-owned shop and video game company on the corner of a sleepy street in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil.

Michel Guillemot is down on his hands and knees, fishing under the pick 'n' mix display for loose sweets he then dusts on the lapel of his brown cotton shopcoat before popping them back into their correct box.

A yelp rises from the back room. Yves Guillemot rushes out, a dusty bottle of prosecco in his hand and a wide smile across his face.

"Brother!" Yves cries. "They did it! We're safe! We did it!"

Michel slips a gummy egg between his lips and waits for Yves to calm down.

"Vivendi! Finally! They said they would! They have!" he gasps while tearing at the foil on the bottle. Yves notices his brother's bemused look (and pretends not to notice he's eating the stock again) and pauses to catch his breath. "Vivendi finally sold their remaining Ubisoft shares. That's the very end of their takeover attempt. Our family business is safe."

Michel swallows and reaches for a pack of plastic picnic champagne flutes.

Over several years, Vivendi had bought more and more Ubishares, creeping closer to the 30% mark where they'd get to make an offer on the company. The former owners of Activision Blizzard got real close, amassing 27% of shares, and Ubi were not best pleased by the takeover prospect. But Vivendi threw in the towel in March 2017, saying they'd sell their shares and swear not to try again for a while.

That is now complete. Vivendi announced yesterday that they have now sold their remaining shares, which made up 5.87% of Ubi.

"Vivendi is no longer a Ubisoft shareholder and maintains its commitment to refrain from purchasing Ubisoft shares for a period of five years," they said.

Or maybe this is all the build-up to a dramatic sequel in 2024. Like the mega-spacewar of Battlestar Galactica's reboot following years of apparent peace. Hundreds and thousands of men in suits appear from nowhere, encircling Fags & Mags & Rab(bid)s on a quiet morning.

For now, your friendly local mom 'n' pop video game studio shall remain as independent as a publicly-traded multinational corporation partially owned by megacorps can.

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Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.