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About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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French Government Might Back Ubisoft Against EA Takeover

by Judy on Dec. 30, 2004 @ 12:18 p.m. PST

Ubi Soft could receive government support in its fight against the threat of a takeover by US video games giant Electronic Arts, La Tribune newspaper reported without naming its sources (thanks VE3D). Read more for details ...

The government has been watchful for several months about the health of French video games studios, of which around 20 work for Ubisoft, the financial daily said.
The heads of the studios fear that a purchase of Ubisoft by EA would lead to the disappearance of the last decision making centre in France for the video games industry, La Tribune added.

Ubisoft said last night it is not in talks 'at present' with EA about the US company's recent purchase of a stake.

'In light of recent news spread by the press, Ubisofts board of directors reiterates that, in the absence of information from Electronic Arts regarding its intentions, the latter's acquisition of 19.9 pct of the groups capital is unsolicited and currently considered as hostile,' the company said.

'Moreover, it states that there are no negotiations between the two parties at present,' Ubisoft said.

Les Echos newspaper reported yesterday that Ubisoft will gather together some of its largest shareholders next week in a bid to convince them not to throw their weight behind EA.

EA bought its holding on Dec 20 from Talpa Beheer BV, the investment vehicle of Dutch financier John de Mol.

Les Echos said Ubisoft is considering several options to defend itself against its American rival, including increasing the holding of the Guillemot family, who, the newspaper said, have 17.5 pct of shares and 26.6 pct of voting rights.

France's other video games manufacturer, Infogrames Entertainment SA (Paris: FR0000052573 - news) , owner of the Atari (NASDAQ: ATAR - news) brand, is currently seeking approval for a financial restructuring.

An EGM on Dec 21 to vote on the debt refinancing plan was inquorate and has been postponed until Jan 19.

The company is proposing to buy back 117 mln eur in Oceane 2005 convertible bonds with a combination of cash and shares, in conjunction with a 1-for-2 warrant offer entitling shareholders to buy new stock at 1.11 eur per share.

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