Chinese gaming giant Tencent Holdings wants to become Ubisoft's largest single shareholder by purchasing more of the company. According to independent sources, Tencent, the largest social network and gaming company in China, announced the news. “Tencent Holdings Ltd. plans to raise its stake in French video game group Ubisoft Entertainment SA as the Chinese gaming industry shifts towards the global market,” said the report.
In 2018, Vivendi sold all of its shares in Ubisoft after tensions between the company and a major investor, Vivendi, boiled over, resulting in Vivendi agreeing not to invest in Ubisoft for at least five years. According to reports, Tencent has reached out to the family of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot to express interest in increasing its stake in the company. At the moment, it is unknown how much of Ubisoft Tencent plans to purchase.
Despite rumours that Ubisoft was being targeted for acquisition, how big the Chinese company's ambitions are remains to be seen. There is currently $795 million worth of Guillemot family holdings in Ubisoft, which is valued at $5.3 billion. According to Reuters, Tencent could pay as much as 100 euros per share to acquire its additional stake, a significant jump from its previous purchase, in which it paid 66 euros per share. In addition, sources have confirmed that Tencent will purchase shares from public shareholders in order to become the company's largest shareholder.
Ubisoft's share price jumped 15% on the news. During a recent earnings call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that the company was open to acquiring offers, but neither confirmed nor denied that the company had been approached by potential buyers. PlayStation and Xbox have built up their catalogs by acquiring studios in recent years. Sony’s acquisition of Bungie has made it clear why Chinese companies such as Tencent are eager to invest in the video games industry, as the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft set the corporation back $68.7 billion.