Justin Trudeau Visits Ubisoft Montreal Amid Takeover Concerns
Canada’s Prime Minister drops in as Vivendi’s shadow looms.
It’s been a hectic week for the folks at Ubisoft.
A report by The Globe and Mail (via USgamer notes that the France-based publisher is facing the possibility of a takeover by Vivendi SA, the former parent company of Activision Blizzard who sold their remaining shares in that company earlier this year. To that end, they’ve begun courting Canadian investors in order to secure the company’s future, as Canada is home to several of the company’s studios in Toronto, Halifax, Quebec City, and their largest of all in Montreal.
“We want to increase the number of Canadian shareholders in Ubisoft to have better control over the capital,” Mr. Guillemot said, adding he’s approaching investors with longer-term investment horizons who have a feel for the company’s history and corporate culture. “We feel it’s a good defence.”
The Globe and Mail notes that part of the risk of this move by Vivendi is that if they cannot reach an amicable agreement with the Guillemot brothers, founders of Ubisoft, then there is a risk that they could walk — and take some of the company’s best talent with them. Chief executive Yves Guillemot notes that while he doesn’t believe that there is a need to worry about Vivendi shutting any of the Canadian studios down, the autonomy they enjoy independent of the group would be greatly compromised. “Our intention is and has always been to remain independent, a value which, for 30 years, has allowed us to innovate, take risks, create beloved franchises for players around the world, and which has helped the company grow into the leader it is today,” said Guillemot in October 2015.
This coincides with a February 24th report from Global News about Ottawa attempting to help fund innovators in the tech sector and revive growth in Canada. Gamasutra reports that this spurred Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pay a visit to Ubisoft’s Montreal studio in advance of the next Canadian federal budget on March 22nd, where such investments would be discussed. There, he is said to have tried out their upcoming Eagle Flight virtual reality title for the Oculus Rift, as seen in this tweet from the studio:
— Ubisoft Montréal (@UbisoftMTL) February 25, 2016
Trudeau would go on to tweet the following on February 25th, featuring Guillemot looking on as Trudeau speaks to the Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft Montreal, Yannis Mallat:
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 25, 2016
Suffice to say, it looks like Trudeau is quite enjoying himself. How that may or may not help Ubisoft’s situation remains to be seen.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.