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The news, which comes from a report from Puck, suggests that there were many “potential suitors” to take over the video game giant, including Amazon and Disney.
“In recent years, as media companies have taken greater interest in the rapidly growing gaming industry, [Andrew] Wilson [the head of the company] and Electronic Arts have held talks with a number of different potential suitors, including Disney, Apple and Amazon, sources with knowledge of those talks told me,” wrote Puck’s veteran media reporter, Dylan Beyers.
“Several sources familiar with these talks say EA has been persistent in pursuing a sale, and has only grown more emboldened in the wake of the Microsoft-Activision deal. Others say that EA is primarily interested in a merger arrangement that would allow Wilson to remain as chief executive of the combined company.”
Microsoft said it would pay $68.7bn in cash for the game designer, in a move partly aimed at the future of gaming and the metaverse, while Sony recently purchased Bungie, the makers of Destiny and the original designers of Halo.
EA’s first preference would have been Disney, reportedly approaching them to establish a "more meaningful relationship", but the entertainment megalith turned the company down. One of those deals could include Disney spinning off ESPN and combining it with Electronic Arts, but it is unclear exactly what the future of a deal would have been.
EA also apparently spoke to NBCUniversal in order to structure a deal, merging the media and gaming giants, but disagreements arose over price and structure – one that would give Comcast CEO, Brian Roberts, a majority shareholder of the game publisher and would leave EA chief executive Andrew Wilson in charge.
Amazon, Disney, and Apple, did not respond to requests for comment.
“We don’t comment on rumors and speculation relating to M&A,” EA spokesperson John Reseburg told Kotaku in a statement.
“We are proud to be operating from a position of strength and growth, with a portfolio of amazing games, built around powerful IP, made by incredibly talented teams, and a network of more than half a billion players. We see a very bright future ahead.”