November 7, 2017 / 5:48 PM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ubisoft beats its second-quarter sales target

(Adds details on outlook, comments and background on Vivendi)

Nov 7 (Reuters) - French video games maker Ubisoft said on Tuesday it had beaten its sales target in July-September and was confident about the coming quarters given strong demand for its latest games.

Second-quarter sales surged 85.8 percent to 264.2 million euros ($306 million), 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.

In July Ubisoft had targeted July-September sales of about 190 million euros.

It said the latest instalment of its open world Assassin’s Creed game series, “Assassin’s Creed Origins”, released at the end of October, had sold twice as many copies as its predecessor “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate” during the first 10 days since its premiere.

The game also saw significantly more digital sales which represented 35 percent of its entire distribution, compared to 15 percent for “Syndicate”.

Ubisoft, however, did not lift its outlook for the full year.

“The level of our confidence has grown,” Chief Financial Officer Alain Martinez said. But it was “too soon” to raise the guidance for full-year sales of 1.7 billion euros as first half sales amounted to only 466 million euros.

Martinez stressed that “Assassin’s Creed Origins” had just been released with still “a long way to go” and there were more releases, like “Far Cry 5”, planned in the coming quarters.

Since 2015, Ubisoft has been involved in a battle with acquisitive French media group Vivendi which has now built up a 26.63 percent stake in Ubisoft.

Asked about any recent developments on the Vivendi front, Martinez said “there’s no particular news”.

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

Vivendi’s next important date in the battle is Nov. 20, when it will automatically get double voting rights on some of its Ubisoft shares, helping it cross the 30 percent threshold for making a mandatory bid under French takeover rules. ($1 = 0.8647 euros) (Reporting by Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Susan Fenton)

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