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Acquire or be acquired? Ubisoft might be looking at the latter

Ubisoft said no to Vivendi, but might say yes to another buyer.

Ubisoft's third-quarter results came with a dash of acquisition speculation today. During a conference call held after the release of Ubisoft's financial earnings, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot dropped some hints that  Ubisoft might be up for joining the acquisition parade.

Guillemot's words specifically stated that any offer to Ubisoft "would be reviewed" by company leadership. He did however open with the assertation that Ubisoft "could remain independent" thanks to its talent and game library. 

Many game studios would love to be bought out. But Ubisoft is the one that spent years fighting off takeover attempts from Vivendi. The studio even went so far as to brag about its independence driving creativity during E3 presentations (no mention was made about if its independence drove an alleged culture of abuse and sexual harassment).

But in the age of acquisitions, it'd be foolish for Guillemot and company to shoot down an offer from Sony, Microsoft, or Embracer on sight. They are apparently playing coy on if any offers have been made up to this point. 

Elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to warp Ubisoft's earnings. The company pulled in €1.4 million (about $1.6 million) in revenue in the 9-month period ending December 31, 2021, a 17.7 percent drop from the prior year's earnings. 

But Ubisoft has been one of those companies that saw a revenue spike in the pandemic that is beginning to course correct. Its 2021 third-quarter haul is 27 percent higher than the same period in the pre-pandemic fiscal period.

Not every game company is seeing that pandemic-driven drop, but Ubisoft's 2021 releases were slower-paced than some of its competitors. It's also got games themed after the Avatar and Star Wars film franchises that are waiting in the wings.

Net bookings also dropped 16.6 percent year over year, with the company earning €1.5 million. That number is also higher than its pre-pandemic total.

Is it better for Ubisoft to be acquired, or should it be the one doing the acquiring? The French conglomerate is already a globe-spanning game studio. Today's call seems to indicate its stakeholders may want to be under someone else's wing, rather than hoovering up any of its competitors. 

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