What a difference a few weeks make! Not long ago, we reported <Em>Dirt 5</Em> developer Codemasters was selling to Take-Two Interactive for a very respectable $994M. It was true at the time. Over this past weekend, however, a new buyer has stepped in with a higher bid. That buyer is Electronic Arts.
According to an Electronic Arts press release, the company has reached an agreement with the Board of Codemasters to proceed with an acquisition at more favorable terms. Codemasters shareholders are entitled to receive 604 pence (which works out to $7.98 per share in US dollars) in cash for each ordinary share of Codemasters. The acquisition, anticipated to be completed in the first calendar quarter of 2021, is valued at an estimated $1.2 billion USD.
“Electronic Arts and Codemasters have a shared ambition to lead the video game racing category,” said Gerhard Florin, the Chairman of Codemasters. “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. 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.”
For its part, Electronic Arts cited a “deeply compelling opportunity” to “lead in a new era of racing entertainment.” Added Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, “We are pleased that both our Boards of Directors are recommending this transaction, and we look forward to welcoming such an exciting and talented team to the Electronic Arts family.”
Thanks to numerous past acquisitions over Electronic Arts’ long history, that family consists of numerous developers ranging from Bioware to Criterion, PopCap to Pogo.
The acquisition turmoil may not yet be over just yet, though the Electronic Arts bid seems difficult to beat. In a follow-up press release, Take-Two Interactive acknowledged that “Take-Two is considering its position in relation to Codemasters and a further announcement will be made when appropriate.”
What do you think? Is Electronic Arts a better match for Codemasters than Take-Two Interactive might have been? Which future is better for gaming and the racing genre? Does it even matter with this much money potentially fluttering toward shareholder pockets?