Electronic Arts are allegedly looking for a buyer and have held discussions with Disney, Amazon, Apple and Comcast-NBCUniversal. According to anonymous sources in a report by news site Puck, the conversations progressed furthest with NBCUniversal, but talks "fell apart within the last month," the report says.
Rather than an acquisition, Comcast-NBCUniversal chairman Brian Roberts reportedly approached EA CEO Andrew Wilson with the suggestion of spinning off NBCUniversal and merging it with EA. The resulting company would have been majority owned by Roberts but run by Wilson, but the proposal fell apart "due to disagreements over price and structure."
A spokesperson for EA told Puck they would not comment on "rumors and speculation relating to M&A". 'M&A' is short for mergers and acquisitions.
The past few years have seen a wave of consolidation within the videogame industry. That includes tech giants like Microsoft who are in the midst of buying Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, major publishers like Take-Two buying mobile giant Zynga for $12.7 billion, and investor-funded holding companies like Embracer Group, who now own 124 studios and added Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal earlier this month. Electronic Arts have been active too, buying Codemasters for $1.2 billion (around £960 million) last year.
Electronic Arts have allegedly been "persistent" in pursuing a sale, according to the report, and "has only grown more emboldened in the wake of the Microsoft-Activision deal."
It seems likely that there will be other major deals in the near future. Back in February, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said during a quarterly investor call that the French publisher "can remain independent", but if there was an offer to buy them, "the board of directors would of course review it in the interest of all stakeholders." There have been reports since that several private equity firms are interested.