Electronic Arts sells stake in Ubisoft

By Stephany Nunneley, Friday, 16 July 2010 15:19 GMT

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EA is selling its stock in Ubisoft, six years after purchasing a hefty 14.8 percent stake in the publisher.

According to a Ubisoft spokesman, an unspecified stake in the French company was being liquidated by EA, but Reuters said the spokesman wouldn’t confirm if the entire stake was being sold.

“Electronic Arts was seen as a natural bidder for Ubisoft, though a lot of people had given up with this idea a long time ago,” said one Paris-based trader to Reuters.

“On the other hand, it may open the door to new investors who were not willing to enter Ubisoft and try to shake up things as Electronic Arts already owned 15 percent but was not doing anything with its stake,” he added.

However, a source close to Ubisoft told Reuters EA had “given investment bank UBS a mandate to sell the entire stake”, with Dow Jones reporting the entire stake has been sold, but it is unknown who purchased it.

“This is good news for Ubisoft which regains its independence, although Electronic Arts has always supported our strategy,” a Ubisoft spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.

EA bought almost a 20 percent stake in Ubisoft back in 2004, causing the market to speculate whether it would eventually seek control of the company as a whole.

Ubisoft was forced by the purchase to step up its expansion efforts, insisting it had “the means to remain independent”.

In May of this year, Electronic Arts only owned 14.8 percent of Ubisoft, with Yves Guillemot’s founding family owning 11.3 percent and 20 percent voting rights.

Ubisoft shares were down by 1.3 percent at €6.88 during the opening bell.

Via Reuters, Dow Jones.

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