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    Ubisoft CEO says still open to other partners after Tencent deal

    PARIS (CNA) – Ubisoft, France’s biggest video games maker, is still open to other partners after a deal in which China’s Tencent will raise its stake in the company, its co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot said on Thursday.

    Guillemot’s comments, made at a closed press event whose content the company asked not to be made public before a showcase event online on Saturday, came on the heels of a rough day for Ubisoft’s stock, which tumbled 17 per cent after the group announced Tencent would become its single biggest shareholder with an overall stake of 11 per cent.

    The deal values the Assassin’s Creed maker at about USD10 billion. “We remain totally independent and we can act with any outside company if we want to,” said Guillemot, who along his four brothers founded Ubisoft in 1986.

    “That was a big negotiation with Tencent,” he added. “We can do whatever we want.” Traders and analysts have said the Tencent deal, which sees the world’s largest games firm by revenue enter into a shareholder pact with the Guillemots, removed the speculative appeal of Ubisoft shares.

    The group has long been seen as a takeover target as the Guillemots hold a minority stake in the group. Still, the Guillemot brothers managed to fend off a raid by French tycoon Vincent Bollore via his media group Vivendi.

    Smaller mobile video game maker Gameloft, formerly led by Yves Guillemot’s brother Michel, was gobbled up by Vivendi six years ago.

    The secretive siblings, sons of agricultural traders from a small town in Brittany, western France, have vowed to protect their independence, a goal which Yves Guillemot, 62, reasserted on Thursday. “Our first intention is to own our destiny,” he said.

    CEO of Ubisoft Yves Guillemot. PHOTO: UBISOFT
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