By on December 17, 2020

Electronic Arts Outruns Take-Two

Electronic Arts said it had reached an agreement to buy Codemasters in a deal worth $1.2 billion, beating rival video games maker Take-Two Interactive Software to the finish line for the British company.

Electronic Arts Outruns Take-Two

Codemasters shares surged 18.7 percent to $8.63, above EA’s offer of $8.17 per share. UK-based Codemasters, known for its Formula One, DiRT Off-Road Racing, Fast & Furious high-speed action, and Grid video games, said it considered the new bid to be superior to the $6.56 per share offer from Take-Two. Take-Two said it was considering its position.

Electronic Arts Outruns Take-Two

Activision Blizzard Inc., Take-Two, and EA have all benefited from a surge in video game sales in the US, due in part to more people spending time indoors due to the pandemic. But could this trend reverse itself next year, as people begin vaccinating against COVID-19?

“Leveraging our technology, platform expertise, and global reach, will allow us to grow our existing franchises and deliver more industry-defining racing experiences,” said Andrew Wilson, EA’s CEO.

Electronic Arts Outruns Take-Two

EA’s offer represents a 13.1 percent premium over Codemasters closing share price, and it expects completion of the deal in the first quarter of 2021.

“Codemasters is an attractive asset with a lot of the qualities a consolidator looks for. It has a strategic relationship with NetEase, offering a direct route to the lucrative Chinese market,” analysts said. EA, maker of The Sims, Need for Speed, and FIFA, EA expects the deal to grow net bookings and underlying profitability. UBS Investment Bank is the financial adviser to Electronic Arts, while Jefferies acts as Codemaster’s financial adviser.

Electronic Arts Outruns Take-Two

Codemasters has been making games for over 30 years, a world leader in the development of racing titles, in particular the DiRT series, and as the official games of Formula One. Their passion is racing games, and their expertise in this genre no doubt led to EA’s acquisition of the company.

[Images: Codemasters]

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13 Comments on “Electronic Arts Outruns Take-Two in Codemasters Race...”


  • avatar
    Alcolawl

    EA is incredibly good at ruining franchises, or gobbling up smaller developers and gutting them of talent. I know that this is a move to target the Chinese market, but I can’t help but worry about the current, well-made titles that Codemasters is known for like Dirt and F1. Also, the Chinese Market is usually code for Free to Play garbage games that are chock full of loot boxes, cosmetics, and pay-to-win practices. What’s better? Selling a million $60 games or having 10 million unique users on a free game that purchase hundreds of dollars worth of cosmetic items for their characters/cars/whatever? EA already tried this with another well-known developer that they gobbled up, Dice, and their game Star Wars Battlefront 2 and it backfired immensely.

    In closing and sticking to racing and automotive focused games, though, does anyone remember the Need for Speed Shift series? I loved those games! I spent hours upon hours racing, perfecting my lap times, tuning my cars. They were a load of fun. After the release of Shift 2, EA, as a publisher, then turned around and essentially tried to destroy the developer (Slightly Mad Studios) through several shady moves and steal their technology, game engine, etc. Luckily the studio was able to move on to another publisher and continue their work on racing sims like Project Cars. Take a guess who acquired Slightly Mad Studios last year for $30 Million? Codemasters…

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      You have a far more optimistic view of this than I do.

      I have to admit there were “some” gems in there. The original Most Wanted was good as a arcade racer. There were a couple good non-racers too.

      As far as Project Cars, PC3 is already a game in the EA fashion.

      • 0 avatar
        Alcolawl

        I guess I came across incorrectly. Reading it this morning, the first paragraph is a little ranty.

        I’m not optimistic about this acquisition at all. EA ruins great developers, studios, and franchises constantly. The point about the Chinese market is that the next Codemasters game might target that region. These games tend to be of lower quality, as they’re usually cheap, if not free, and rely on microtransactions for revenue. This warps the gameplay into a pay-to-win mentality or at the very least a “You’re a loser if you don’t have this new skin/paint job” sense of community.

        As for Slightly Mad Studios, my point was that I enjoyed the NFS:Shift series and Slightly Mad got shafted by EA and found another publisher. I find it ironic (and sad) now that even after all that, they were acquired by Codemasters last year and now Codemasters has been acquired by EA. So EA got Slightly Mad Studios after all. I would expect them to take revenge on the studio in some way, and while a NFS:Shift 3 would be really cool, I doubt it’ll ever happen. Will Forza be the only racing sim left on PC?

  • avatar
    Urlik

    Please not EA, they consistently ruin every franchise they touch.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    As rotten as EA is, gamers have this weird problem of hating company X…yet they still hand them money everytime a new cosmetic DLC comes out.

    EA can gut Codemasters all they want and slip in countless microtransactions, gamers will still eat up their Dirt.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Nobody monetizes DLC in this arena like iRacing does though.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark Stevenson

        The difference being iRacing’s “DLCs”, if you can call them that, add very realistic cars, tracks, and expand the reach of series you can race. I gladly give the boys in Boston an extra $40 every 13 weeks.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Me too. It is by far the best racing sim out there and real people is better than AI any day.

          But when you decide you want to run an entire season of dirt sprint cars for example it gets a little spendy buying the non free tracks.

          I will give them one big plus though. On a couple occasions they gave removed a car or track I’ve purchased and they refund my account…even if I’ve run it for multiple seasons. Not something EA would do.

          At least EA didn’t wreck Star Wars Squadrons…yet.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Both them and Simbins F2P title are quite bad in that regard, but you gotta do what you gotta do to pay for all the research and licensing gymnastics that go into those titles.

        Still, given the costs of microtransactions and fancy wheel setups, I’d sooner look into autocrossing or budget racing myself, theres no substitute for the real thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I don’t know man, in my experience even running a car for kicks at test and tune night is exponentially more spendy than a decent sim rig. My first set up was a 200 dollar Logitech G27 set up and a 10 dollar junkyard seat on a PVC frame. I upgraded, but I’m still under the price of a set of tires. I added VR and a better PC, but it’ll run well on minimal hardware.

          It’s not really a replacemrnt for the real deal anyway, just something you can have some fun doing. Plus my kids have gotten into real cars via that. Plus I can’t just go out and run Talladega and North Wilkesboro in the race cars from the 1987 season like I can in the sim. Now if I could afford to actually race as much as I am on iRacing, that would be sweet.

  • avatar

    If EA is ruining every company they touch then they will eventually run out of money. Or I am missing something? As they say (not us) – they (i.e. we) will last until (we) run out of other peoples money.

    • 0 avatar
      Alcolawl

      Unfortunately it won’t pan out this way. They still have a few good franchises, like Battlefield, that will sell millions of copies no matter what. People blindly purchase products like Call of Duty (Yes, I know Activision is the publisher, but I’m making a point) and other titles simply on name alone, no matter how terrible it may be (see Call of Duty: Cold War). EA can float on this alone. This applies to nearly every major franchise they own. Mindshare, nostalgia, even hope keeps gamers coming back for more. If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, when it comes to gaming hardware and video games, the demographic that purchases such things has terrible control over their urges to purchase every new release. Just check completed eBay listings for PlayStation 5s.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I always liked the appearance of these cars and the commercials with Jonathan Pryce.

    For some reason the J30 reminds me of a Jaguar Mark II. Is it just me, or is there some resemblance/styling cues?

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