According to a new story, Apple is one of several corporations who have held negotiations with Electronic Arts (EA) regarding a potential acquisition.
Apple has a long history of acquiring companies, partly to expand its staff and expertise base, and partly to enter new industries fast. According to a Friday report, there were at least negotiations about purchasing Electronic Arts.
As it seeks a merger agreement, EA has spoken with many “possible suitors,” including Apple, Amazon, and Disney. Apple and the other companies declined to comment, and the current status of the talks is unknown, but Apple is interested in gaming due to its Apple Arcade service.
EA’s first choice was Disney, and the game business approached Disney in March to build a “more significant partnership” than licensing deals, but Disney decided against pursuing an acquisition. EA also met with NBCUniversal and was close to a contract, but the talks fell apart due to pricing and structure concerns. EA CEO Andrew Wilson wants to stay on as CEO after a merger, which could present problems if Apple decides to buy the company.
To make matters worse, the US government has been investigating buyouts and mergers in recent months. Even if both sides agree to the potential agreement, the sale or merger must be approved by the United States and other governments, and President Joe Biden’s antitrust enforcers have many questioning comparable deals will be approved. For example, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard now has a low probability of success among Wall Street insiders, owing to the necessity for permission by the Federal Trade Commission, led by Lina Khan. Khan has called for greater control of such technology transactions and has opposed the clearance of several comparable sales throughout her term.
EA is a notable video game publisher known for properties such as “The Sims,” “Battlefield,” “Apex Legends,” “SimCity,” “DragonAge,” “FIFA,” and others. According to reports, EA has been eager to pursue a sale, and with the recent acquisitions, the game publisher has been “more confident” to achieve its aim. Sony paid $3.6 billion for Bungie, the game firm behind “Destiny,” Take-Two Interactive paid $12.7 billion for Zynga, and Microsoft paid $68.7 billion for Activision Blizzard.
While Apple has increasingly gone into gaming, such as with its Apple Arcade subscription, such an acquisition is implausible. Apple seldom makes such large-scale acquisitions, with the most noteworthy exception being the $3 billion purchase of Beats Music and Beats Electronics in 2014.
Other negotiations, according to sources, took occurred after Comcast CEO Brian Roberts attempted to court EA CEO Andrew Wilson for a possible merger of EA and NBCUniversal. Sources suggest EA is keen to be a part of a merger that “would allow Wilson to remain as chief executive of the combined firm” as part of the talks.