The world’s largest video game publisher, Tencent, has acquired a minority stake in Ubisoft.
A $297,000,000 investment has allowed the Chinese conglomerate to increase its ownership stake in Ubisoft to 9.99 per cent and increase its stake in Guillemot Brothers Ltd. to 49.9 per cent.
Guillemot Bros. is a company owned by the Guillemot family that runs Ubisoft, which could own up to 29.9 per cent of Ubisoft.
This means that while Tencent is a minority owner, Tencent and Guillemot Bros. together could own the majority of Ubisoft stock.
Tencent's investment in Guillemot Brothers Limited amounts to €300 million (€200 million share acquisition and €100 million capital increase), at an implied valuation for Ubisoft of €80 per share.
Guillemot Brothers Limited remains exclusively controlled by the Guillemot family. Tencent will not be represented on its Board of Directors and will not obtain any consent or veto rights over the business.
As part of the announcement, Ubisoft also stated that Tencent would be working to “bring some of Ubisoft’s most well-known AAA franchises to mobile”. This comes a few months following the announcement of Rainbow Six Mobile and just four days before the Ubisoft Forward announcement event on Saturday.
Tencent itself is probably best known by Rainbow Six fans as the company which owns Riot Games, the developers of League of Legends and VALORANT. Tencent also owns Turtle Rock Studios, which previously co-developed Counter-Strike: Source, and owns a 40 per cent stake in Epic Games which develops Fortnite.
Tencent also owned a five per cent stake in Activision Blizzard -- the developers of Call of Duty and Overwatch -- until earlier this year, when it sold these shares to Microsoft as part of their takeover of the gaming goliath.
As for this news’ effect on the Siege esports world, Tencent is the single biggest game developer in China by far and Ubisoft has been trying to release Rainbow Six: Siege in China since at least 2018. Back then, the Chinese uL Gaming roster was invited to represent the prospective new region at the Six Invitational event.
Attempts to roll out China-friendly updates to the game, such as the removal of skull icons and blood, were widely rejected by the community as an example of Chinese censorship affecting the game.
However, with changes rumoured to the competitive structure of Siege esports combined with this Tencent investment, the game and esports scene could see an expansion into China.