Ubisoft Execs fined $1.2 million for Insider Trading

French stock market regulators have held fines against five Ubisoft employees for insider trading for a total of €1.2 million (around $1.26 million). Ubisoft is appealing the judgement.

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) had accused Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat and four other executives of selling stock in early October, 2013. This was just before the announcement that Watch Dogs and The Crew being delayed to 2014. After those delays, the value of Ubisoft stock dropped by around 25%. A couple mornings ago, AMF handed down their decision to fine all five executives, giving them varying sanctions that all add up to €1.2 million:

  • Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat – €700,000
  • Ubisoft VP of corporate affairs Francis Baillet – €200,000
  • Ubisoft worldwide studios exec director Christine Burgess – €200 000
  • Ubisoft Montreal VP of executive operations Olivier Paris – €100,000
  • Ubisoft brand development director Damien Moret – €15,000

Ubisoft told Kotaku today that they intend to fight the AMF’s decision. Ubisoft argues that Mallat and the other executives weren’t in a position to know about the delays when they sold their Ubisoft shares.

An Ubisoft spokesperson said in a statement.

Ubisoft acknowledges the AMF’s decision, but continues to assert that the people involved acted in good faith. We are convinced that these team members did not intentionally commit any acts contrary to market regulations.

Similarly, given the processes and timetables involved in the production of major games at our company and within our industry in general, we believe that at the time they carried out their transactions these employees could not have been aware of or anticipate the subsequent decision to postpone the game that would be taken by Yves Guillemot on October 11, 2013.

Regrettably, the AMF’s decision represents a serious misunderstanding of the game development and production process at our company and common to our industry. Each major game requires the involvement of multiple teams across the company, but ultimately only the company’s CEO can make an exceptional decision such as changing a game’s release date.

Oddly enough coincidentally, the multinational corporation Vivendi announced that it had increased its stake of Ubisoft to 25%. Kotaku mentions a hostile takeover, but even if Vivendi’s strong, I don’t believe the 25% is enough to take over.

Not to mention, Watch Dogs 2 is getting good hype at least from Super Bunnyhop.

I’m also surprised that the Euro is so strong yet Britain wanted to leave the European Union.

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