Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard. Take-Two Interactive buys Zynga. Sony buys Bungie. Embracer Group buys, well, everything. Amid a wave of mass game industry consolidation, it’s no surprise that shareholders told Ubisoft executives today during the publisher’s third-quarter earnings call about the benefits. themselves in making major acquisitions of their own or being acquired. But Ubisoft’s leadership, at least publicly, maintains an atmosphere of disinterest for now.
It was clear that the publisher knew the issue would be on the minds of shareholders, as it had tried to prep the discussion in its own earnings with a one-page manifesto praising the good news. advantages of organic growth. You You can read the whole thing here on page 3, but in a nutshell, Ubisoft wants shareholders to see it succeed where growth slows over time, as opposed to a company that spends a lot of money acquiring other companies. As proof, it turns out what it’s built for years does exactly that: its IP library like Assassin’s CreedFar Cry games, Tom Clancy etc along with various exclusive technologies and, quite ironicCompany culture and organizational structure.
Remarkably, much of this was accomplished without Ubisoft acquiring other giant companies, though it certainly did, if on a much smaller scale than its investors. are requesting. In recent years, Ubisoft has selected mobile publisher Green Panda Games, developer Brawlhalla Blue Mammoth, anti-cheat developer GameBlocks, mobile developer Kolibri Games, server company i3D.net, and more and more.
But that’s not really what’s being talked about here. As the publisher pointed out, Ubisoft has become very valuable and very successful on its own steam, a notable success after the long battle between Ubisoft and Vivendi not long ago. The discussion of its organic growth could be interpreted as the publisher not wanting to do much with its own mass acquisition any time soon, so we are not likely to see Ubisoft try to buy Take-Two or something tomorrow.
But of course, all of these discussions about how successful and valuable Ubisoft is was raising questions of a different kind to the investors on the call. As was pointed out about 12 minutes ago, if Ubisoft’s assets are valued that much right now, isn’t it a good time to sell the company to someone else?
CEO Yves Guillemot responded with a somewhat cautious independent statement:
“Ubisoft can stay independent… Our IP is sought after by the biggest players in the world in entertainment and technology,” he said. “Having said that, if there is an offer to buy us, the board of directors will of course consider it for the benefit of all parties involved.”
There are two things to note here. The first is that this is a pretty standard statement for any executive when asked this question. Acquisition discussions, especially for companies like this, are constant and more often than not, they go nowhere. But we never heard about them until the deal was actually passed due to some banning laws to keep financial speculation from running rampant, among other reasons. At that time, almost every company executive, when asked if their company could be acquired at some point, had to answer “Maybe, maybe not” to avoid both make definitive statements but also outright lies.
But it’s worth noting that this is a softer response than Guillemot could have offered, especially given Ubisoft’s history with Vivendi and against acquisitions. Given how hard it was for Ubisoft to fend off a potential takeover just 4 years ago, even a slight crack in the acquisition door from the company’s CEO deserves credit.
Every game Ubisoft is developing