Electronic Arts is set to buy racing game developer Codemasters for $1.2 billion.
The UK-based company is known for its Formula One titles and entries in the Dirt rally franchise. With EA’s acquisition, some of the world’s biggest names in the genre – Need for Speed, Grid and Project Cars – would all be under the same umbrella.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, with a price of $7.98 (£6.04) per share for Codemasters – valuing the deal at $1.2 billion.
It marks the biggest deal in EA’s history, coming as demand for gaming continues to skyrocket, somewhat boosted by the pandemic.
The $40 billion giant only entered talks recently, stepping in the way of an agreed $970 million deal with Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive, Sky News reports. This morning, December 14, EA confirmed it had reached an agreement with Codemasters.
Gerhard Florin, chairman of Codemasters, said in a press release: ‘Electronic Arts and Codemasters have a shared ambition to lead the video game racing category. The Board of Codemasters firmly believes the company would benefit from EA’s knowledge, resources and extensive global scale – both overall and specifically within the racing sector.’
He added: ‘We feel this union would provide an exciting and prosperous future for Codemasters, allowing our teams to create, launch and service bigger and better games to an extremely passionate audience.’
With the takeover, EA’s main competitors in the racing genre have been reduced to two titans: Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo series and Forza on Xbox.
Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA, said: ‘We believe there is a deeply compelling opportunity in bringing together Codemasters and Electronic Arts to create amazing and innovative new racing games for fans. Our industry is growing, the racing category is growing, and together we will be positioned to lead in a new era of racing entertainment.’
He added: ‘We have admired Codemasters’ creative talent and high-quality games for many years. With the full leverage of EA’s technology, platform expertise, and global reach, this combination will allow us to grow our existing franchises and deliver more industry-defining racing experiences to a global fan base.’
EA’s deal follows another momentous acquisition in the industry – Microsoft’s $7.5 billion takeover of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Fallout and Elder Scrolls creator Bethesda Softworks.
Fortunately, there’s no plans to pull the studio’s content from Sony or Nintendo; whenever we get our hands on Elder Scrolls 6, we should be able to play on PS5 or Xbox Series X. However, Xbox’s CFO Tim Stuart said the company wants games to be ‘first or best’ on the platform.
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