Posts: 590 +119
TL;DR: A new report claims that Electronic Arts has been floating itself on a market that is churning through game publishers. It's talked to Amazon, Apple, and Disney about a potential acquisition, and even pursued a merger with NBCUniversal.
About $100 billion has been spent on game studios and publishers in the past year. Microsoft spent the majority of that picking up Activision Blizzard and Bethesda's parent company Zenimax, and Sony responsively grabbed Bungie and other smaller developers.
Now, the few publishers still on single-player mode are reconsidering their positions. Ubisoft expressed interest in being acquired in February, and Puck reports that EA has been approaching potential buyers and negotiating mergers.
It came quite close to merging with NBCUniversal, according to Puck's industry sources. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts considered handing control of NBCUniversal over to EA CEO Andrew Wilson in a deal that would've seen the two companies form an entertainment giant. But the negotiations eventually stalled when the two parties couldn't settle on a price.
At its current market cap of almost $37 billion, EA would be the second-largest publisher to ever be acquired, if that does happen. Microsoft's $69 billion Activision Blizzard deal is the largest acquisition of its kind so far, and it's currently being stalled while under scrutiny from the FTC.
EA has also been acquiring new studios and franchises. In the last 18 months, it's spent $5 billion to acquire two mobile game studios as well as Codemasters, the racing sim developer. But its classic IPs are now in trouble: EA's exclusive license to produce Star Wars titles will not be renewed in 2023, leaving the door open for other developers to create games for the franchise.
Perhaps in response, EA approached Disney in March to inquire about a "more meaningful relationship than licensing deals," Puck's sources say. Disney apparently didn't express much interest.
EA also confirmed this month that it would be ending its 25-year partnership with FIFA starting next year. It will release one more game in the FIFA franchise later this year before rebranding its football games as EA Sports FC in 2023.