TL; DR: A new report claims that Electronic Arts has entered a booming market thanks to game publishers. He has spoken with Amazon, Apple and Disney about a potential acquisition and even pursued a merger with NBCUniversal.
Around $100 billion has been spent on game studios and publishers over the past year. Microsoft spent most of that money picking up Activision Blizzard and Bethesda’s parent company, Zenimax, and Sony quickly grabbed Bungie and other smaller developers.
Now, the few editors still in solo mode are reviewing their positions. Ubisoft expressed interest in being acquired in February, and Washer ratios that EA approached potential buyers and negotiated mergers.
It nearly merged with NBCUniversal, according to Puck’s industry sources. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts considered ceding control of NBCUniversal to EA CEO Andrew Wilson in a deal that would have seen the two companies form an entertainment giant. But negotiations ultimately broke down when the two sides couldn’t agree on a price.
With its current market capitalization of nearly $37 billion, EA would be the second-largest publisher ever acquired, should that happen. Microsoft’s $69 billion Activision Blizzard deal is the biggest such acquisition yet, and it’s currently stalled under FTC scrutiny.
EA also acquired new studios and franchises. Over the past 18 months, it has spent $5 billion acquiring two mobile game studios as well as Codemasters, the racing simulator 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 reached out to Disney in March to inquire about a “relationship more meaningful than licensing deals,” according to Puck’s sources. Disney apparently didn’t show much interest.
EA also confirmed this month that it will be ending its 25-year partnership with FIFA starting next year. It will release another game in the FIFA franchise later this year before rebranding its football games as EA Sports FC in 2023.