In brief: Following Take-Two's $970 million bid for Codemasters last month, EA has now entered the chat with a $1.2 billion deal to acquire the racing game studio. Like Take-Two's original offer, this deal is expected to close by the first quarter of next year, meaning that both US publishing giants have plenty of time to outbid each other in determining who gets to control a major portion of the racing game genre.
Codemasters, mainly known for their Dirt, F1, and Grid racing series, had recently agreed to be snapped up by Take-Two Interactive in an acquisition that was expected to be complete by the first half of 2021.
Now though, Take-Two could find itself entering a bidding war with its US rival, Electronic Arts, following the latter's plan to acquire Codemasters for $1.2 billion. Should the agreement reach completion, it'll be EA's latest acquisition (and one of the biggest) since the $455 million purchase of Respawn Entertainment in 2017.
EA and Take-Two compete fiercely in the sports genre and could leapfrog their bids to acquire the UK-based developer, which has an extensive racing game pedigree and holds the official license for F1 titles. Take-Two doesn't currently have a racing game in its portfolio, which could push it to outbid EA's latest offer.
EA, however, still has the long-running NFS franchise going and could further cement its position with Codemaster's mix of arcade and simulator titles. With Project Cars, Need for Speed, F1, Grid, and Dirt, the publisher would be able to control a significant chunk of the racing games market, leaving Microsoft's Forza and Sony's Gran Turismo series as its only main rivals.