Six years later, EA sells stake in Ubisoft

Electronic Arts sells its nearly 15 percent stake in Ubisoft. The smaller, French-based developer is now free from EA's grasps, reports say.

After a contentious six-year relationship, Electronic Arts has sold off its entire ownership interest in Ubisoft, according to news accounts Tuesday.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, which first reported on the sale, Electronic Arts sold its stake in Ubisoft--14.8 percent of the company--to unidentified investors. The major game developer declined to say how much it sold its stake for, Dow Jones reported.

Back in 2004, Electronic Arts acquired approximately 20 percent of Ubisoft, which at the time, reflected EA's desire to "be a consolidator" in the gaming business as developers buckled under the immense cost of building games for more advanced consoles. At the time, Ubisoft wasn't so happy about the acquisition. Yves Guillemot, the company's CEO, said that he viewed the acquisition "on the part of EA as hostile."

EA's interest in Ubisoft was rarely, if ever, hostile. Ubisoft was still free to independently build games even though EA owned a sizable portion of the company. And as EA started acquiring other companies outright, including BioWare and Pandemic Studios, the company stopped short of fully acquiring Ubisoft.

EA alluded to its ownership desires changing in a statement acknowledging its sale of Ubisoft shares. The company said that since it invested in Ubisoft, things have changed, and the France-based developer doesn't fit into its plans any longer.

"Our strategic priorities have changed since our initial investment," EA said in a statement. "More recently, the Ubisoft position has been viewed as a portfolio holding, rather than a strategic holding."

As expected, Ubisoft is pleased with the sale. The company said in a statement to Dow Jones that EA's move "is good news."

Featured Video

Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?

Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?

by Drew Stearne