[Editors note: This report was updated on 09/07/2022 to reflect that Tencent has purchased a stake in Ubisoft shareholder Guillemot Brothers Limited and not the French publisher itself.]
Ubisoft has announced that Chinese tech giant Tencent has invested €300 million (about $297.2 million) into core shareholder Guillemot Brothers Limited.
The move will see Tencent acquire a 49.9 percent economic stake and 5 percent voting rights in Guillemot Brothers Limited, with represents an implied valuation for Ubisoft of €80 per share.
In a press release, Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot said the investment "further reinforces Ubisoft’s core shareholding around its founders and provides the company with the stability essential for its long-term development.”
At the start of August, a report surfaced that Tencent was aiming to become Ubisoft's largest shareholder. It previously acquired a small percent stake in the publisher of Assassin's Creed and Just Dance, but was looking to up its stake, including buying 15 percent from the Guillemot brothers (Yves, Christian, Claude, Michel, and Gérard).
"Tencent is a key shareholder partner for many of the industry’s leaders, who have created some of the most outstanding video games," continued Guillemot. "This transaction reinforces our ability to create strong value over the coming years.”
"This agreement also aligns with our philosophy to invest alongside creative founders with full confidence that they will lead their companies to new heights," wrote Tencent president Martin Lao. "Ubisoft has shown an impressive ability to consistently create world-class entertainment that include some of the most successful franchises in the industry."
Tencent is also providing Guillemot Brothers Limited with a "long-term unsecured loan" to refinance its debt.
Ubisoft, however, won't be directly affected by the deal in an operational sense. The French's company's governance will remain unchanged and Tencent will not have any operational veto rights.
That said, the expanded Guillemot concert may now increase its stake in Ubisoft to 29.9 percent of Ubisoft's capital or voting rights. The Ubisoft board has also authorised Tencent to increase its direct stake in Ubisoft from 4.5 percent to 9.99 percent of its capital or voting rights.
Earlier this year, Guillemot admitted that Ubisoft being acquired wasn't out of the realm of possibility, so long as the Assassin's Creed publisher remained independent.
The news comes as Ubisoft remains in the middle of cultural crisis. There are reports that company management have still yet to meet the demands of pro-worker group A Better Ubisoft, which was formed following multiple reports of the publisher's alleged culture of harassment and misconduct.
Tencent has been gradually making moves to have a bigger presence in the western games space, particularly triple-A game development. Last week, it and Sony increased their stakes in Elden Ring developer From Software.