Ubisoft unveils growth plan to fend off Vivendi

A man walks past a Ubisoft logo at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

PARIS (Reuters) - French video games maker Ubisoft declared new revenue and profit growth targets for the next three years on Thursday as management sought to secure its independence in the face of media group Vivendi’s recent stakebuilding.

Vivendi, which is chaired by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, has increased its stake to almost 15 percent since buying into both Ubisoft and related mobile phone games company Gameloft last October.

The new goals include increasing annual revenue by 60 percent to 2.2 billion euros (1.7 billion pounds) for the year ending March 2019 with an operating profit margin of 20 percent and free cash flow of around 300 million euros for the same year.

The founding Guillemot family, which still owns 9.3 percent of Ubisoft, regards Vivendi’s move as hostile and the company was meeting with investors in London on Thursday following the announcement of its new financial targets.

The Guillemot family also owns 18.99 percent of Gameloft, having announced on Monday that it had raised its stake to fend off Vivendi, which now holds a 28.2 percent stake.

Ubisoft doesn’t see synergies with Vivendi, Chief Financial Officer Alain Martinez said during a call with reporters.

“We’re waiting for Vivendi to provide Ubisoft with a proper answer on this subject,” he said.

Ubisoft’s shares jumped by more than 11 percent to 22.3 euros a share after the group announced the forecasts.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Greg Mahlich