Tencent invests $297 million in Assassin’s Creed creator Ubisoft

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Tencent has made a $297 million funding into Assassin’s Creed maker Ubisoft. Ubisoft introduced Tuesday that Tencent acquired a minority stake in Guillemot Brothers Restricted, the corporate by which Ubisoft’s founders have managed the larger Ubisoft company. Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot stated Tencent’s elevated stake was performed to safe Ubisoft’s worth for the long run. Martin Lau, president of Tencent, stated this strengthened partnership may even bolster each firms’ footprint within the cell gaming market.

“We are excited to expand our engagement with the founders, the Guillemot family, as Ubisoft continues to develop immersive game experiences, and to bring some of Ubisoft’s most well-known AAA franchises to mobile,” Lau stated in a information launch. “This agreement also aligns with our philosophy to invest alongside creative founders with full confidence that they will lead their companies to new heights.”

The Chinese language conglomerate’s funding into Ubisoft included 200 million euros in shares and 100 million euros in capital. For a complete of almost 300 million, Tencent has additionally secured a 49.9 p.c financial stake and 5 p.c voting rights in Guillemot Brothers Restricted.

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This deal is not going to end in a change in management: The Guillemot household continues to have unique management over Guillemot Brothers Restricted and Tencent is not going to acquire a seat on the corporate’s board of administrators. On the identical time, Ubisoft’s board of administrators has authorised Tencent to extend its direct stake in Ubisoft from 4.5 p.c to 9.99 p.c of capital and voting rights, with the situation that Tencent can’t share its gross sales for 5 years and can’t improve its stake past 9.99 p.c for eight years.

Shenzhen-based Tencent is likely one of the largest and strongest online game firm on the earth by way of its possession of “League of Legends” creator Riot Video games, 40-percent possession of “Fortnite” creator Epic Video games and investments in dozens of different studios. Per week earlier than the Ubisoft announcement, Tencent acquired a 16.25 p.c stake in FromSoftware, the award-winning Japanese developer of “Elden Ring” and the Darkish Souls collection.

Guillemot assured his workers Tuesday that Tencent’s elevated stake in Ubisoft wouldn’t affect how the corporate is run, in keeping with an inner memo to Ubisoft staff shared with The Put up.

“Furthermore, it’s important to note that this agreement will not impact our governance,” Guillemot wrote within the memo. “Tencent is not taking a seat on the board of directors of Ubisoft nor Guillemot Brothers, nor becoming involved in our decisions or day to day operations. Tencent has a reputation as a constructive shareholder that already supports many other leading video game creators in the same way. Our strategy and creative choices remain our own, and Ubisoft’s success continues to depend on all of us joining together to focus on our objectives and the many opportunities in front of us.”

Guillemot went on to say that Tencent’s elevated stake into Ubisoft would bolster the corporate’s efforts to develop overseas “while preserving our identity and values.”

The previous few years have been tumultuous for Ubisoft. In 2020, Ubisoft was embroiled within the gaming trade’s #MeToo motion as staff inside the firm shared tales of sexual harassment and misconduct. Guillemot vowed to implement safeguards to guard workers shifting ahead in an inner memo for workers despatched in July 2020, however months later, Ubisoft staff reportedly noticed few modifications.

In August, the Tencent reported its first dip in income in its 23-year historical past — a 3 p.c drop general and 1 p.c drop in gaming income, to a complete of $19.78 billion. The Chinese language tech large has additionally been going through harsher restrictions in its residence market, prompting it to hunt out extra alternatives overseas.

Annabelle Timsit contributed to this report.

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