The Guillemot family, which is behind games company Gameloft, could up its stake in the publisher to curb Vivendi’s growing influence and prevent a takeover, CEO Michel Guillemot told Le Monde.
“We could go on. We don’t have much debt,” he said, adding that with help from banking partners, the family increased its voting rights from 22 per cent to 29 per cent. Vivendi currently has 26.63 per cent of voting rights.
Last month, Vivendi announced its intent to launch an offer for Gameloft shares at a price of €6 each, which valued the company at around €500 million. It subsequently increased its bid to €7.20 per share.
Both offers were dismissed by Gameloft.
A statement by Gameloft offered a harsh criticism of Vivendi’s reasoning for the offer.
For instance, it said Vivendi does not have any specific know-how in the video game industry since the sale of Activision one year ago, and that its media properties would “bring limited revenue synergies”.
Gameloft also noted that it already has a strong international presence, being active in more than 100 countries with more than 96 per cent of its revenue coming from outside France.
And it said Vivendi’s relationships with operators, “limited to its current minority participation” in Telecom Italia and Telefonica, would not bring much to Gameloft since it already has an active network of more than 200 telecom operators in more than 100 countries.
It concluded that the offer price undervalued Gameloft, adding that since the date on which Vivendi raised the price of its proposed tender offer, Gameloft’s share price has consistently traded above the offer price of €7.20 per share.
“As of 23 March, this offer price represents a discount of 1.4 per cent to the company’s last closing share price,” it said.
Vivendi also owns 15.66 percent of Ubisoft, another publisher founded by the Guillemot family, on which it has its eyes set.
According to Guillemot, “Ubisoft has been criticised for not protecting Gameloft, but if one day Ubisoft bought Gameloft, it would only be in the interest of the shareholders of both companies.”
Last week, Gameloft said its 2015 strategic plan, including a global reorganisation of teams and “significant cost cutting measures”, has started to “bear fruit”.