China continues its wrangling of the western gaming industry with moves on both Ubisoft and Unity. Reuters reported yesterday that Tencent is attempting to increase its 5% stake in Ubisoft to a much more significant one that will make it the single largest shareholder. Two unnamed sources told the paper that Tencent had “reached out to the French firm’s founding Guillemot family and expressed an interest” in boosting its stake. “Tencent could offer up to 100 euros ($101.84) per share to acquire the additional stake,” sources claim. Ubisoft stock surged on the news.
“Tencent has submitted to the Guillemot family a term sheet – a non-binding offer describing the basic terms and conditions of an investment – with a price ‘way above’ the company’s current price to ward off potential competition, one of the sources said. The aggressive offer comes as global gaming power houses have been rushing to snap up quality independent game makers in recent years, which are in scarcity, two of the sources said. Tencent’s senior executives flew to France in May to meet the Guillemot family about the purchase, two of the people said.”
Meanwhile, Reuters also broke the news this week that Unity is in the processes of a spin-off of its Chinese unit out of a “desire to see its software used more extensively in China in areas as varied as smart city modelling to industrial design, as well as in the metaverse,” according to the industry sources. Unity, of course, has made headlines over the last few weeks for now-walked-back anti-developer comments from its boss and its ongoing layoff-studded merge with a controversial monetization platform.