No doubt you've heard of the dealings of Vivendi in recent months-- from its hostile takeover of Gameloft to its reported plans to absorb Ubisoft. You may find yourself wondering, who is Vivendi, why have I not heard of them, and why in the world do they want to take over Ubisoft? To answer these questions, it's best that we look back a little bit to explain Vivendi's origins in the industry. A (not so) brief history of Vivendi Vivendi is a company based in Paris, France which finds its origins in the water industry. It didn't get the name "Vivendi" until 1998, when it started to expand into the telecommunications and media markets. Shaking off its roots in the water and waste industries, Vivendi began to expand and merge with many companies which dealt with broadcasting, film, and music. It had become quite a giant in these areas by 2000, having even merged with huge names like Universal Studios by its purchase of the huge corporation Seagram. Vivendi technically owned the rights to a lot of old games at the time, including PC classics like Half Life. However, in 2002, the company's over-expansion led it into crippling debt, forcing it to sell most of its media assets (7A) and center itself in the telecommunications industry. From the wreckage of Vivendi Universal Studios came the rise of a division called Vivendi Games, which had merged with Havas (which had merged with CUC International)-- Sierra Entertainment and Blizzard were famous examples of this group's subsidiaries. This small division of Vivendi's massive conglomerate wouldn't become well known until 2007, when it merged with Activision for $9.8 billion; this would allow the resulting subsidiary, Activision Blizzard, to become one of the largest publishers of the time. However, Vivendi decided to yet again sell off its less important assets and focus on its telecommunication subsidiaries. In 2013, Activison Blizzard used offshore funds to buy its independence from Vivendi for $8 billion; as a result, Vivendi sold the majority of its shares in Activision Blizzard, giving the company room to pay off debts and amass a nest egg. It reduced overall expansion and refocused its priorities. This nest egg, built up over three years, was by no means an insignificant sum. With these reserved funds, they returned to the gaming industry in October 2015 by buying stock in both Gameloft and Ubisoft (49). This was no coincidence, as Vivendi, Gameloft, and Ubisoft are all French companies. Furthermore, Ubisoft and Gameloft are both founded by brothers of the Guillemot family. At the time, no one really knew what their intentions were in acquiring those shares, but the purpose was soon to be revealed. If you don't want the full history, skip here Out of the blue, Vivendi placed a bid on Gameloft valued at 610 million Euros. In a hostile takeover, this bid gained the support of Gameloft's shareholders on the 31st of May, allowing Vivendi to forcibly take control of the company. As a result, Gameloft's CEO, Michel Guillemot, is reportedly stepping down, and Vivendi has already sent a letter to Gameloft employees regarding the takeover. Michel Guillemot What does this mean for Ubisoft? Well, in February of this year, Vivendi increased its stake in Ubisoft to 15%, and reportedly raised it again to 18%, which is greater than the Guillemot family's 15%. No doubt, Vivendi is looking to use the same method to perform a hostile takeover on Ubisoft, having so many shares in the company to begin with. Not to mention that Ubisoft's CEO is the brother of Michel Guillemot who stepped down after Gameloft's takeover. Ubisoft knows this is coming, and as such has reportedly began to rally up more shareholders in Canada to have better control over its assets. Most importantly, what does this mean for the consumer? Well, considering both Ubisoft and Gameloft will most likely be experiencing changes in leadership, expect changes in their content management. But also be on the lookout for Vivendi in the industry. Be wary of the giant conglomerate, as a company that large getting into the gaming industry doesn't just stop after a few takeovers. Such a hostile takeover is by no means common, and it takes a huge company to even be able to pull it off. Seeing as the whole situation is so confusing to begin with, I hope this article helped you understand at the very least the strangeness of the current happenings. Vivendi's history is interesting and it emphasizes how sudden and unexpected this takeover was and how scary the prospect of future endeavors is. Be on the lookout for this corporate giant.