Jumping in at the deep end: Ubisoft could be up for sale

Ubisoft Entertainment, the video game publisher behind the "Assassin's Creed" franchise, is showing preliminary interest in being acquired by buyout funds, people familiar with the matter say, according to Bloomberg. Ubisoft hasn't yet begun serious negotiations with potential buyers and it's unclear whether the majority shareholder is ready to pursue a deal, according to the same sources.

Bloomberg reported talks are apparently at an early stage, but private equity firms such as Blackstone Inc. and KKR & Co. are involved, and several current and former Ubisoft developers have told Kotaku they believe the company will eventually be sold.

5.2 Billion worth of entertainment

Ubisoft was founded in 1986 by five brothers in the Guillemot family. Ubisoft's shares have fallen 41% in Paris trading over the past year, giving the company a market value of about 4.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion). Ubisoft chairman Yves Guillemot is the company's biggest investor, with a 15% stake.

In addition, Kotaku reports that Ubisoft is having various parts of its business reviewed by several outside consulting firms. While this is common for any company, Kotaku's sources claim that this is being done in preparation for an acquisition.

Image: Ubisoft

When Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot was asked about a possible takeover in February 2022, he said that the company "can remain independent" but would consider takeover bids.

This all comes against the backdrop of a major consolidation in the games industry over the last two years. The whole thing started with Microsoft's landmark acquisition of Bethesda. Microsoft then acquired Activision Blizzard earlier this year, although the acquisition still has to be reviewed and approved by the US government.

Shortly after, Sony acquired Bungie, having previously bought up a number of smaller studios with which it already had relationships. Time will tell how things are going to be for Ubisoft.

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