EA was in discussions with NBCUniversal

EA CEO Andrew Wilson smiles as he dreams of becoming even richer.

Photo: Christian Peterson (Getty Images)

The video game market is consolidating like never before, and Electronic Arts is hustling like everyone else. the Battlefield and Fifa The manufacturer recently pursued a merger with NBCUniversal and also held potential acquisition talks with Disney, Apple and other companies, according to a new report from Puck. While no deal is currently in the works, it doesn’t look like EA is planning to give up any time soon.

“In recent years, as media companies have taken more interest in the growing gaming industry, Wilson and Electronic Arts have held interviews with a number of potential suitors, including Disney, Apple and Amazon, telling me said sources with knowledge of these discussions,” wrote Puckveteran media reporter, Dylan Beyers. “Several sources familiar with these discussions say EA has been persistent in pursuing a sale and has only become emboldened in the wake of the Microsoft-Activision deal. Others say EA is primarily interested through a merger agreement that would allow Wilson to remain chief executive of the combined company.

But it was apparently a deal with NBCUniversal that went the furthest. According to Beyers, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was seeking to spin the entertainment conglomerate into a separate entity with EA, a version of the deal that remains current. EA CEO Andrew Wilson in charge of the new mega-company. Negotiations ultimately broke down over the price, however.

*dun-dun*

“We do not comment on rumors and speculation relating to mergers and acquisitions,” EA spokesman John Reseburg said. My box in a report. “We are 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 -billion players We see a very bright future ahead of us.

Read more: Private equity eyes Ubisoft as the next big gaming acquisition

Over the past year, there has been a frenzy of video game studio acquisitions, one that accelerated in January after Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two announced it was buying Zynga for $12.7 billion and Microsoft announced its intention to buy Call of Duty manufacturer Activision Blizzard for 69 billion dollars. Sony followed up weeks later with a deal to buy the studio behind Destiny 2Bungie, for $3.6 billiona price that some analysts saw as massively inflated and possibly a sign of another mad rush for consolidation among the biggest players in the gaming industry.

During an earnings call in February, Andrew Wilson hinted that the company was focused on making acquisitions rather than acquiring. For proof, EA spent $5 billion last year it bought studios to increase its size. But now it looks like the publisher has aggressively pursued other ways to grow. Beyers reports that Wilson approached Disney as recently as March “looking for what sources described as ‘a more meaningful relationship’ than licensing deals.”

This news comes as EA has lost or dropped some of its biggest existing licensing deals. As the publisher recently revealed three new star wars games currently in productionincluding a new one Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order it is early 2023 release rumorits exclusivity agreement with Disney for the star wars the license will not be renewed when it expires in 2023. This has allowed competitors like Quantic Dream and Ubisoft to announce their own big star wars projects. EA also revealed last week that it was ending its similar 10-year exclusivity agreement with FIFA and that from 2023, rebranding its successful football franchise EA Sports FC.

Whatever the future of EA, one of the main concerns about consolidation is its ultimate impact on the employees of these companies. Even though EA announced another profitable year, My box learned recently that an estimate 200 customer service employees are laid off. According to four of the affected employees, their work is outsourced to cheaper third-party vendors in Romania and India.

Comcast, Disney and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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