Well, this happened pretty quickly. Codemasters, the British game developer, has agreed to sell the company to Electronic Arts. Back in November last year, the company revealed that it has been talking to Take-Two Interactive, which owns 2K, and Rockstar Games, who offered to buy the racing games specialist for a little under $1 billion.
Following media reports on December 14, Codemasters’ board confirmed that it has decided not to proceed with the Take-Two offer and agreed to the Electronic Arts (EA) acquisition instead. There wasn’t any clear statement why Codemasters changed its course, but insiders believe money was behind the decision. After all, EA values Codemasters at $1.2 billion.
Codemasters is the publisher of racing titles, including Dirt, F1, Grid, and OnRush, and recently secured the rights to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
Take-Two acknowledged Codemasters’ decision to change its buyout offer in favor of Electronic Arts.
In a released statement, the company said, “Take-Two is considering its position in relation to Codemasters, and a further announcement will be made when appropriate. In evaluating the EA Offer, the Codemasters Board has considered various aspects of the EA Offer and considers the EA Offer to represent a superior offer for Codemasters’ shareholders as compared with the Take-Two Offer.”
EA owns the Need for Speed and Burnout franchises, none of which are doing well. The American video game company acquired Swedish games developer Ghost Games who was originally developed Need for Speed Rivals (2013), Need for Speed (2015), Need for Speed Payback (2017), and Need for Speed Heat (2019). The titles received mixed reviews, compelling EA to look for another developer to take over the development of The Need for Speed franchise.
Needless to say, EA bought the Guildford-based video game developer Criterion Games in October 2004. As part of the agreement, Criterion Games released Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010), Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012), as well as Burnout Paradise (2008).
“Our industry is growing, the racing category is growing, and together we will be positioned to lead in a new era of racing entertainment,” Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA, said.
With Codemasters’ acquisition, EA can use Codemasters’ marketing expertise to support Criterion Games’ much-hyped return to the Need for Speed franchise.
EA’s acquisition of Codemasters is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.