Electronic Arts, who’ve done a fair bit of small studio shopping themselves in recent years, is looking to merge or sell to a bigger partner. As big as EA is, there’s always a bigger fish it seems. And with Microsoft and Sony already tied up in their own recent acquisitions, it looks like EA are turning to bigger fish in the media and entertainment space who may be looking for an easy way into the lucrative world of gaming.
In a (paywalled) post on Puck, Dylan Byers reports on the most recent of these approaches. The report suggests that Comcast-NBCUniversal CEO Brian Roberts has been eyeing various acquisitions since as far back as 2018, reportedly failing to stop a takeover of Fox as well as the WarnerMedia merger, both of whom he wanted.
Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, became emboldened once again and started eyeing an acquisition when Microsoft announced its purchase of Activsion Blizzard as Roberts is still looking to expand, especially into the gaming world. According to Puck, he approached EA CEO Andrew Wilson in the wake of the Microsoft Activision deal, and talks actually progressed quite far. Both companies spent weeks negotiating but those talks fell through last month.
Apparently, EA and Comcast didn’t see eye to eye on the terms of acquisition, especially when it came to price and company structure.
It has also been reported that Disney, Apple, and Amazon were companies approached by EA, although it seems there are no potential deals in the works at the moment.
EA spokesperson John Reseburg has released a statement since this report dropped, claiming that the publisher is “proud to be operating from a position of strength and growth” and has a “very bright future ahead.” However, Reseburg does clarify that EA doesn’t "comment on rumors and speculation relating to M&A.
If EA were to be acquired, who do you think they should be bought by? Personally, the existing Disney relationship for some of the Star Wars IP could work in their favour. Also, Disney own a fair chunk of ESPN which could be useful for a lot of EA’s sports titles.