Okay, nobody panic. Details are still scarce at this point, and this could turn out to be nothing at all. We're seeing some reports that could indicate that Polish developer CD Projekt RED, of The Witcher fame, could be taking defensive measures in order to protect itself from a potential hostile takeover in the future. The articles from which we're sourcing the information are in Polish, but NeoGAF user "boskee" has come through to let us English speakers know what's going on.
"CD Projekt Red has called for the extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to be held on November 29th. According to the schedule, there are 3 points that will be covered:
- Vote on whether or not to allow the company to buy back part of its own shares for 250 million PLN ($64 million)
- Vote on whether to merge CD Projekt Brands (fully owned subsidiary that holds trademarks to the Witcher and Cyberpunk games) into the holding company
- Vote on the change of the company's statute. "
It's a bit confusing because CD Projekt RED is a publicly traded company, but it's still an independent developer. As far as red flags go, it's that third point that we're interested in right now. Now that The Witcher 3 has become one of the most popular Western RPGs of all time, the fact that the company is voting to change its statute is raising eyebrows. Apparently, the change "will put restrictions on the voting ability of shareholders who exceed 20% of the ownership in the company. It will only be lifted if said shareholder makes a call to buy all of the remaining shares for a set price and exceeds 50% of the total vote."
Gamers and media are a bit jumpy at this point because EA's multiple buyouts in the past that, in some gamers' opinions ruined beloved franchises, and more recently because of Vivendi's continued attempts to acquire a controlling stake in Ubisoft. The latter has been aggressively buying up shares in hopes of putting up an offer for a controller stake, and that spells trouble for gamers who love Ubisoft's smaller, more experimental projects. A buyout from by Vivendi could lead to more games "designed by committee," as it were. Say goodbye to Chid of Light, and say hello to an online-only, free-to-play Assassin's Creed game with tons of microstransactions. That's the hypothetical nightmare.
And that's exactly what we don't want to happen with CD Projekt RED. We don't know anything beyond what is outlined above, and we have no indication as to who (if anyone) would be interested in purchasing CDPR. There was a rumor last September that CDPR management was in talks with EA about a potential acquisition, but it was later dismissed as baseless and false. Now that rumor has been resurfacing with renewed foreboding. We'll be keeping our eye on things following the meeting, and we'll hope that it doesn't amount to anything worth reporting.