Ubisoft sells Gameloft stake

Console game publisher Ubisoft sold its 18.89% stake in leading mobile game publisher Gameloft for € 81.27m (c. $111m) to Calyon, the investment banking unit of French bank Credit Agricole.

The deal is interestingly crafted and seems to have been driven by financial performance concerns for Ubisoft: it is an equity swap agreement that gives Calyon 24 months to sell the Gameloft shares on the market. Any changes in the Gameloft share price will then be recorded by Ubisoft, so the deal will only affect Ubisoft’s income statement when Calyon sells the Gameloft shares. "Ubisoft said the equity swap enables it to stagger the placement of the Gameloft shares so that Ubisoft can keep benefiting from the company’s development potential over the next two years."

No need to get all hyped up though: the Ubisoft brands will remain safely where they are: The two companies said (other sources said "hinted") that they will continue to collaborate, especially when it comes to utilizing Ubisoft’s brands on mobile phones.

The fact that the license ties and collaboration will remain, that it will still be the Guillemot brothers at the helm of both companies and, last but not least, the way the deal mechanics work would suggest that this was more a piece of corporate and financial housekeeping for Ubisoft rather than an aggressive new move for Gameloft. On the other hand, even mighty Gameloft may have felt the need to position itself slightly more independently in order to be able to move in a market that has seen continuous consolidation waves and aggressively pushing market players.


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