Electronic Arts is claimed to be actively pursuing a sale or merger, in the wake of recent M&A activity in the games industry such as Microsoft’s $68.7bn acquisition of Activision.
That’s according to a new report by news site Puck (paywalled), which claims that EA “has been persistent in pursuing a sale” and has recently held talks with Disney, Apple, Amazon and Comcast-NBCUniversal.
It’s claimed that talks with the latter progressed the furthest, before eventually falling apart last month, with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts allegedly proposing to spin off NBCUniversal and merge his company with EA.
“The general terms of the proposal, which lawyers and bankers for both sides negotiated for several weeks, would have seen the Roberts family take majority control of the combined entity,” the report claims. “In the configuration most seriously discussed, the company would have been run by Wilson.”
The proposal is said to have fallen apart last month due to disagreements over price and structure. A spokesperson from Comcast declined to comment, while EA said it would not comment “on rumors and speculation relating to M&A”.
The report goes on to claim that sources have indicated that the FIFA and Battlefield publisher “has been persistent” in pursuing a sale, and has “only grown more emboldened in the wake of the Microsoft-Activision deal”.
“Others say that EA is primarily interested in a merger arrangement that would allow Wilson to remain as chief executive of the combined company,” it adds.
Because video games have outperformed many industries hurt by the pandemic, public and private investors have started to target the industry as a perceived safe bet.
M&A activity in the games industry hit a record $85 billion in 2021 and has been forecast to reach $150 billion this year, with huge deals such as Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and Take-Two’s buyout of Zynga having already been announced in 2022.
Last month it was reported that another major games publisher, Ubisoft, was attracting takeover interest from several private equity firms, including Blackstone Inc. and KKR & Co.
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