It looks like Tencent is not done with its acquisition of video game companies.
The Chinese media conglomerate had just recently purchased a stake in Elden Ring maker FromSoftware in a deal that involved Sony. Now, the company has set its sights on Ubisoft. The new deal sees Tencent acquiring a minority share in Guillemot Brothers Ltd, which will indirectly increase its ownership of Ubisoft. Before the purchase, Tencent already owned a 4.5% stake in Ubisoft.
The Guillemot family will remain as majority owner of Guillemot Brothers Ltd, as the total owned by Tencent will move to 49.99%. The brothers Christian, Claude, Gérard, Michel, and Yves founded Ubisoft in 1986, two years after selling computer hardware and software.
The total value of the Tencent acquisition is $300 million.
The Tencent and GBL partnership
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot had this to say about the deal:
The expansion of the concert with Tencent further reinforces Ubisoft’s core shareholding around its founders and provides the company with the stability essential for its long-term development.
The Guillemot family will remain in control of GBL as the deal gives Tencent only 5% voting rights in Guillemot Brothers and no member on the Board of Directors. For the Guillemot Brothers, the deal gives them additional finances to acquire a bigger stake at Ubisoft, as GBL is permitted to acquire up to 29.9% ownership of the game developer. The deal also gives it additional capital that it can use to invest in brand new intellectual property and the development of the existing ones.
In light of the recent acquisition, Ubisoft has allowed Tencent to increase its stake to 9.99% from the current 4.5%. However, this doesn't give Tencent operational veto rights or a seat as a board member of Ubisoft. Also, Tencent is not allowed to sell its shares for five years and it cannot increase its stake at Ubisoft for the next eight years.
For Tencent, the deal gives them access to Ubisoft’s vast library of intellectual property that can be released in China. According to Tencent President Martin Lau, the company plans "to bring some of Ubisoft’s most well-known AAA franchises to mobile."
With its new investments abroad, Tencent continues to diversify itself on a global scale and not depend on the strict Chinese market. The company has been hampered by strict video game regulations in its home country.
It will be interesting to see if Ubisoft makes the announcement of the partnership between the game developer and Tencent during the Ubisoft Forward event. The video game showcase will take place over the weekend starting on September 10 at 12:00 PM PT. In addition to Mirage as well as Skull and Bones, Ubisoft is also expected to announce more Assassin's Creed and The Division games at the said event.