Electronic Arts is actively (and persistently) looking for a buyer or other company to merge with it, according to Puck. The video game company has reportedly been in talks with a number of potential buyers or partners, including Disney, Apple and Amazon. It’s unclear who were interested in the full-scale acquisition of EA and who wanted to merge, but in the event of a merger, Puck said EA is looking for a deal that would allow Andrew Wilson to remain CEO of the combined company.
EA approached Disney in March in an effort to forge “a more meaningful relationship” that would go beyond licensing agreements, the source said. However, Disney decided not to proceed, perhaps because it is currently focusing on its nascent streaming service. The publication said the idea of a merger between EA and ESPN, which Disney partly owns, is floating in the industry.
Of all the potential partners, however, it was perhaps Comcast that came closest to a deal. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts reportedly approached Wilson with an offer to merge NBCUniversal with EA. Under the deal, Roberts would take over the majority of the merged company, but Wilson would remain chief executive. However, the parties disagreed on the price of the sale and the structure of the combined entity, and the deal fell through last month.
EA will remain its own company for now, but Puck said it has been more encouraged in its quest for a sale or merger since Microsoft announced it is acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, so that may not be the case for long. It’s worth noting that Sony also revealed it is buying Destiny studio Bungie for $3.6 billion shortly after Microsoft announced the acquisition.
EA spokesman John Reseburg told Puck the company would not comment “on rumors and speculation regarding” [mergers and acquisitions]Reseburg added: “We are proud to operate from a position of strength and growth, with a portfolio of great games built around powerful IP, created by incredibly talented teams and a network of more than half a billion players. We see a very bright future ahead.”
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