Up until last month, Take-Two Interactive was rumoured to be in the final stages of purchasing Codemasters, the UK-based developer. In the deal, the shareholders would be entitled to cash and shares of Take-Two stock and all seemed like a done deal from the press release.
“We are exceedingly pleased to announce this recommended transaction with the Board of Codemasters,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “Codemasters has a renowned history of creating some of our industry’s most beloved and commercially successful racing franchises, and we believe that their offerings will be highly complementary to our sports portfolio and enhance further our organization’s long-term growth. Moreover, we look forward to welcoming Codemasters’ senior management and development teams into our Take-Two family, and sharing in our vision to deliver the highest quality entertainment experiences and aim to be the most innovative, creative and efficient company in our industry.”
This was on November 10. Today, just one month past that date, Electronic Arts has swooped in and purchased Codemasters right from under Take-Two Interactive. The deal, which is valued at $1.2 billion US, is expected to be finalized within the first quarter of 2021.
“Electronic Arts and Codemasters have a shared ambition to lead the video game racing category. 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,” said Gerhard Florin, the Chairman of Codemasters. “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.”
With EA owning Need for Speed and Burnout, allowing Codemasters the opportunity to work on these franchises makes perfect sense. The deal between EA and Codemasters seems like a better fit thanks to the games both companies develop. That said, this is an interesting turn of events on something that looked like a done deal last month.
I hope EA doesn’t turn into another corpse, which is something that they’ve been known to do to studios they’ve purchased before.