Electronic Arts is actively (and constantly) looking for a buyer or another company ready to merge with it, according to Puck. The video game company has reportedly held talks with a number of potential buyers or partners, including Disney, Apple and Amazon. It’s unclear who was interested in buying EA outright and who was looking to merge, but in the event of a merger, Puck said EA was seeking a deal that would see Andrew Wilson stay on as chief executive of the combined company.
EA approached Disney in March to try to forge “a more meaningful relationship” that would go beyond licensing deals, according to the source. However, Disney decided against moving forward, possibly because it is currently focused on its fledgling streaming service. The publication said the idea of a merger between EA and ESPN, which Disney partly owns, is being floated in the industry.
Of all the potential partners, however, Comcast may have come closest to a deal. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts reportedly approached Wilson with an offer to merge NBCUniversal with EA. As part of the deal, Roberts would take majority control of the combined company, but Wilson would remain chief executive. However, those involved disagreed on the sale price and the structure of the combined entity, and the deal fell through last month.
EA is still a separate company for now, but Puck said he had become more emboldened in his quest to find a sale or merger since Microsoft announced it was buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, which may not be for long. It should be noted that Sony also revealed that it was buying Fate Bungie studio for $3.6 billion shortly after Microsoft announced the acquisition.
EA spokesman John Reseburg said Puck that the company would not comment “on rumors and speculation relating to [mergers and acquisitions]Reseburg added, “We’re proud to operate from a position of strength and growth, with a portfolio of incredible games, built around powerful IP, made by incredibly talented teams, and a network of more than half a billion players. We see a very bright future ahead of us.”
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