With the recent rush of consolidation in the gaming world, it can be easy to forget about the original masters of studio acquisition: Electronic Arts. in irony, a new report Dylan Byers of independent publication Puck claims that EA, which has a market cap of $36 billion, is looking to acquire an even bigger company and was nearly bought by NBCUniversal.
According to the report, Brian Roberts, CEO of NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast, approached EA CEO Andrew Wilson with an offer to merge EA and NBCUniversal, leaving Wilson in charge of the combined entity. Negotiations continued for a period of several weeks before being halted by issues of price and final form of the merged entity.
The report goes on to note that EA has also discussed the possibility of an acquisition with Disney, Apple and Amazon, with Disney’s conversations focusing on EA’s sports franchises and their potential synergy with ESPN, which I had no idea was a Disney subsidiary. since 1996. EA has also published high-profile adaptations of the Disney-owned Star Wars series, with a video game exclusivity deal between the companies expiring next year.
EA has a reputation for acquiring beloved developers and later closing its doors, with PC games like Origin Systems, creators of the Ultima series, and Westwood Studios, which developed the original Dune RTS games reaching their ends under EA ownership. BioWare, makers of hit RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, has had a worryingly troubled decade since it was acquired by the company.
It’s unclear how the proposed mergers might affect developers under EA’s umbrella, and the focus of negotiations appears to be primarily on the company’s lucrative esports franchises. Madden Machine Continues To Print Money But There’s Trouble In Heaven: EA Recently lost FIFA trademark rights in their sustaining football franchise.