November 8, 2017 / 2:39 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ubisoft shares surge to record high after company beats Q2 sales target

* Shares surge to record highs

* Stock up over 100 pct so far in 2017

* Vivendi owns stake in Ubisoft (Updates share price, adds analyst comments)

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Shares in French video games maker Ubisoft, in which media group Vivendi has a stake, climbed to a record high on Wednesday after the company’s second-quarter sales beat its targets.

Ubisoft reported late on Tuesday that its second-quarter sales had risen 85.8 percent to 264.2 million euros ($306 million).

Ubisoft shares were up by around 10 percent at 71.53 euros in late session trading on Wednesday, hitting record highs.

The stock has surged by more than 100 percent since the start of 2017, helped partly by speculation that Vivendi - which has built up a stake of around 26 percent in Ubisoft - may at some stage launch a full takeover bid on the company.

Ubisoft’s sales increase was driven mainly by the recently released “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle” game for Nintendo’s Switch console, as well as Ubisoft’s “Rainbow Six Siege”, “Ghost Recon Wildlands” and “For Honor” franchises.

“We view Ubisoft’s top line as being geared to the ongoing strong trends in global gaming spend,” said analysts at Northern Trust Capital Markets, which kept a “buy” rating on the stock.

Analysts at brokerage Jefferies raised their price target on Ubisoft, while also maintaining a “buy” rating on the shares.

“Key holiday game Assassin’s Creed is selling well. But Rainbow 6 is the true star with deep engagement and high-margin revenue contribution nearly two years after launch,” wrote Jefferies.

Vivendi, led by corporate raider Vincent Bollore, has long been at odds with Ubisoft’s founding Guillemot family, which holds 15 percent of the shares and is opposed to Bollore’s increasing influence at the firm.

$1 = 0.8624 euros Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Sarah White and Leigh Thomas

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