There are reports that Ubisoft could become the target of an acquisition, possibly by a private equity firm. If it comes to pass, the publisher and its entire IP catalog could find itself in new hands.
The original report comes from Bloomberg, and states that several private equity firms are eyeing a potential deal. These firms include Blackstone, Inc and KKR & Co, but so far, Ubisoft hasn’t actually begun any negotiations. It's also not clear whether the family of Chairman Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft’s largest shareholder, is willing to sell. The Guillemot family, which founded the company in 1986, bought back a large share from Vivendi back in 2018, avoiding a hostile takeover, and now holds 15% of the company.
What is clear is that Ubisoft has seen a significant drop in stock prices over the past few years, with prices currently at $9.02 today, with a slight tick upward on the potential acquisition rumors. This is down 42% from a year ago $15.64, and is one reason sparking the newest round of sale talks. While there are no active negotiations, the report says that things are early and nothing is yet certain.
According to another report from Kotaku, Ubisoft has been auditing and assessing various aspects of the company, which could be done in advance of a possible sale. With delays in the release schedule for major IPs, like Assassin's Creed or Far Cry, the speculation is running rampant. Ubisoft has also embraced blockchain technology and the play to earn philosophy. The company has also seen some major fallout from workplace sexual misconduct accusations, as well as senior talent leaving the company.
With a major IP roster, there is value in a potential deal, and in a period of time where we’ve seen Microsoft propose a nearly $70-billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Sony buying Bungie, and other deals like Take-Two’s deal for Zynga, it’s perhaps a hot time to be looking for a sale and lift to the books.