EA Snatches Codemasters From Take-Two In $1.2 Billion Racing Sim Megadeal

Dirt 5
Take-Two Interactive nearly acquired Codemasters in a deal worth approximately $994 million. In fact, the publisher thought it was a foregone conclusion, having announced in November that it had reached an agreement with the developer of Dirt 5 and other racing sims. But then Electronic Arts swooped in at the final hour with a better offer, announcing today it has reached an agreement to buy Codemasters for an implied enterprise value of $1.2 billion.

Cue the State Farm commercial with the elder fisherman dangling a dollar and taunting, "Ooh you almost had it, you gotta be quicker than that."

"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. 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," said Gerhard Florin, the Chairman of Codemasters.

Likewise, EA CEO Andrew Wilson called this a "deeply compelling opportunity" to create racing games, an area the publisher has some experience in already—namely, its Need for Speed franchise. Acquiring Codemasters gives EA a richer portfolio of racing franchises right out of the gate, including Formula One, Dirt, Dirt Rally, Grid, and Project Cars.

It will be interesting to see what impact this has on pricing. One of the concerns (on the part of consumers) with the previously pending sale to Take-Two is that the publisher had an inkling to justify and push for price hikes of certain 2K series games on next-gen consoles, including NBA 2K21.

For Codemasters, the decision could not have been a very difficult one. EA is a major publisher as well, and it is offering around $200 million more than Take-Two. Money talks, as they say, and Codemasters listened.