Vivendi Said to Win Majority Backing in Hostile Gameloft Bid

  • More funds join Amber to tender stock for 8-euro-a-share offer
  • Guillemot family said pinning hopes on September court ruling

Vivendi SA has won the backing of a majority of Gameloft SE shareholders in its hostile bid for the French mobile-game company, garnering enough support to move forward with the takeover, according to people familiar with the matter.

More funds agreed to tender their stock to Vivendi’s 8-euro-a-share offer, giving Vivendi and its chairman, Vincent Bollore, the victory, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing results that haven’t been announced. Vivendi, which owns 29.5 percent of Gameloft, drew the backing last week of Amber Capital, which owns 14.6 percent, after raising his offer by 11 percent.

Vincent Bollore
Vincent Bollore
Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

The Guillemot family that runs Gameloft and the larger Ubisoft Entertainment won’t tender its shares, according to the people. They were in talks with an unidentified friendly suitor to counter the Vivendi approach, but those discussions broke down on issues of valuation, they said. The family now rests its chances of maintaining independence on the hopes that a court ruling expected in September will invalidate Vivendi’s takeover on compliance issues, the people said.

Representatives for Vivendi and Gameloft declined to comment.

A resolution of the fight at Gameloft, maker of “Order & Chaos” and “Dungeon Hunter,” would clear the way for a bigger battle over Ubisoft Entertainment, the creator of “Assassin’s Creed,” also run by the Guillemots. Vivendi owns 17.7 percent of the capital and is seeking board representation there.

“A first door has been unlocked with Gameloft,” said Antoine Bonduelle, fund manager at Alma Capital & Associes in Paris. “The focus and the battle are now clearly on Ubisoft.”

As of Tuesday, Ubisoft had a market value of 3.57 billion euros, more than five times that of Gameloft. Gameloft was unchanged Wednesday at 7.98 euros, just under the current offer. Ubisoft was down less than 1 percent at 31.42 euros.

The Guillemot family, originally from Brittany like Bollore, has taken steps to resist the billionaire. Gameloft agreed to grant some employees outside of France severance pay in case of a takeover, and filed an unsuccessful appeal in Paris to reverse the stock market regulator’s ruling allowing Vivendi to proceed.

Gameloft and Ubisoft compete with market giants Activision Blizzard Inc., previously controlled by Vivendi, and Electronic Arts Inc.

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