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Tencent wants a bigger stake in “Assassin’s Creed” maker Ubisoft

1 min read
Tencent wants a bigger stake in "Assassin's Creed" maker Ubisoft
A logo of Tencent is seen at its booth at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

As the Chinese gaming giant makes a shift to the international gaming market, Tencent Holdings Ltd aims to increase its stake in French video game company Ubisoft Entertainment SA, according to four sources who spoke to Reuters.

According to the sources, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, which acquired a 5% share in Ubisoft in 2018, has contacted the family that founded the French company and showed interest in raising its ownership stake.

Tencent‘s desire to acquire more of Ubisoft, which is valued at $5.3 billion, is unclear, but the Chinese giant wants to increase its position in the French company to become the single-largest shareholder, according to two individuals who contacted confidentiality.

According to three sources, Tencent is looking to buy a portion of the additional share held by the Guillemot family, who hold 15% of Ubisoft, the company that created the popular “Assassin’s Creed” video game franchise.

According to two sources familiar with the internal negotiations, Tencent may make an offer of up to 100 euros ($101.84) per share to purchase the additional stake. In 2018, it paid 66 euros per share to acquire a 5 percent ownership.

According to the sources, the deal’s details are still being worked out and could change.

According to two of the sources, Tencent would also look to buy shares from Ubisoft‘s public shareholders in an effort to increase its ownership and take over as the company’s single-largest stakeholder.

According to the French company’s most recent annual report, public shareholders own almost 80% of its shares.

The expected share acquisition will benefit Tencent in lowering some of the pressures in the domestic gaming market. It is the company’s most significant international transaction since a regulatory crackdown in late 2020.

“Tencent is very determined to nail down the deal as Ubisoft is such an important strategic asset for Tencent,” sources said.

Tencent‘s offer, if it reaches the highest end of 100 euros per share, will represent a premium of 127% to the stock’s 44-euro average price over the previous three months and will be near its historical price ceiling of 108 euros in 2018.

One of the sources claimed that Tencent has offered the Guillemot family a term sheet—a non-binding offer detailing the basic terms and conditions of investment—at a price that is “way above” the company’s current pricing in order to fend off possible rivals.

According to two of the sources, the aggressive offer was made at a time when major international gaming companies have been scrambling to acquire good independent game developers since they are hard to find.

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