Electronic Arts is reportedly seeking a buyer and could be in talks with three somewhat unlikely suitors pondering a merger; Disney, Apple and Amazon.
The report comes from Puck, and says many of the biggest names in tech and entertainment are pondering the latest blockbuster acquisition of a video game studio, following Microsoft’s purchases of Activision Blizzard and Bethesda, and Sony’s takeover of Destiny developer Bungie.
The news comes as a proposed deal to buy EA with the previously assumed frontrunner Comcast – one of the largest media and broadband conglomerates in the world and the owner of Sky in the UK – looks like it may be on the rocks.
The news site Puck says a recent proposal was rejected by EA over “disagreements over price and structure”. That could be the space EA needs to set up a better deal with companies who haven’t joined the games studio arms race, in the context of purchasing ready-made studios.
Apple in particular feels like the most unlikely bedfellow for EA, given its focus on mobile gaming and its preference for working with millions of developers within the App Store ecosystem, rather than buying up a studio to produce blockbuster games like the FIFA, Madden and the Battleground series.
An EA spokesperson told the publication it wouldn’t be commenting on any speculation pertaining to mergers and acquisitions. Instead, it looked to the future, although it didn’t insist this would be as an independently operating company.
The statement reads: “We are proud to be operating from a position of strength and growth, with a portfolio of amazing 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.”
Disney might be a better home for EA, given the company is most famous for its licensed sports games. ESPN, which is owned by Disney, has the rights to plenty of the top sports in the US, including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and UFC. EA makes/has made games for all of these sports down the years, so there’s the potential for synergy there too.
Speaking of that synergy, EA is also known for developing a host of Star Wars games, which Disney also owns the rights to.
Of course, you can never rule Amazon out. Its Twitch streaming platform is one of the paramount venues for eSports, and the Amazon Luna cloud gaming service is still finding its feet.