Date
22 April 2018
A strategic tie-up with Ubisoft will help Tencent access the French firm's rich portfolio of videogame titles. Photo: Bloomberg
A strategic tie-up with Ubisoft will help Tencent access the French firm's rich portfolio of videogame titles. Photo: Bloomberg

Tencent buys stake in French game developer Ubisoft

Chinese internet giant Tencent has struck a strategic partnership with videogame developer Ubisoft Entertainment, a deal that includes the acquisition of a small stake in the French firm.

Ubisoft announced Tuesday that French multimedia conglomerate Vivendi is selling its 27 percent stake in Ubisoft in a 2 billion euro (US$2.5 billion) deal.

As Videndi departs, two new long-term investors are coming into Ubisoft: China’s Tencent and Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

According to reports, Tencent will acquire 5 percent of the French gamemaker at 66 euros per share while the Canadian pension fund will buy a 3.4 percent stake at the same price.

Based on the above figures, Tencent will be spending about 369 million euros (US$453.3 million) for the deal, Forbes reported.

Alongside the share deal, Ubisoft and Tencent entered into a strategic agreement under which Tencent will operate, publish and promote several successful titles of Ubisoft in the Chinese market.

“Tencent manages the largest online games community in China and one of the largest, most active social networks in the world, so this deal should help us dramatically increase our games’ exposure and engagement in China,” Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft’s CEO and co-founder said in a statement.

Bloomberg noted that the deal can be regarded as a victory for Guillemot, who sought to evade a hostile takeover attempt by Vivendi.

Ubisoft has a rich portfolio of game titles including Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Watch Dogs, Tom Clancy’s video game series, Rayman and Far Cry. The company generated 1.46 billion euro of sales in 2016-17 fiscal year.

Shenzhen-based Tencent had previously bought into Riot Games, the maker of League of Legends, as well as Supercell, the Finnish developer of smartphone megahits Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, among other investments in Western game studios.

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