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[Financial Times] Electronic Arts: the next target in gaming sector M&A?

Jose92

[Membe
For the people who can't view the article:
Two huge US gaming deals in the space of a fortnight means the race is on to guess who might be third. Like Activision Blizzard and Zynga, the next acquisition target is likely to have an impressive library of game titles. Step forward Electronic Arts.

Video game publishers and the platforms competing for titles know that the $200bn gaming sector is in flux. Consoles are still popular but mobile gaming is the industry's fastest growing segment. More players are streaming games via subscription services instead of buying them outright. Franchises are being milked for longer. To compete, companies are looking for more high profile content — known as AAA games.

EA fits the bill. The Redwood City company has produced The Sims and Fifa, a football game popular with both fans and professional players. It has made astute investments in mobile gaming development too, buying Glu Mobile and Playdemic last year in two cash deals for a combined $3.6bn.

With an enterprise value of $38bn, potential buyers would need deep pockets. This is not a problem in the tech industry. Apple has an enterprise value 71 times as large. Amazon, Meta, Google and Netflix are all expanding their gaming divisions too. Rival Sony may also be on the lookout to build up its portfolio of exclusive games.

EA's 500m user accounts exceed Activision's monthly active user total. But EA has been less successful at extracting money from players. The sub 20 per cent operating margin over the past year compares poorly with Activision's 35 per cent.


EA has not experienced the same stumbles as Activision. Shares fell last year as negotiations over Fifa's branding went sour. The sporting body was reported to request double its $150m per year licensing fee — a figure that would equal around half of EA's forecast annual net income. But the game is popular enough to survive a rebrand and shares recovered. Less expensive than Zynga and less risky than Activision, EA is an attractive target.


 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
I think EA is just too expensive for what it offers. If you buy Konami and snatch licenses from FIFA to eFootball you've already done it right with a cheaper cheque. Battlefield is a plain shooter game, every plain shooter game could be replaced. There are plenty of shooter games out there with great shooting mechanics that didn't go that route, but can now with Vanguard and 2042 state of mediocracy.
 

RaZoR No1

Member
EA just recently bought Codemasters.
TBH dont think that someone will buy them.
Maybe after the Fifa license runs out, because without it, they shouldnt be that expensive..
 
If a platform holder acquires EA, and -if possible- FIFA becomes exclusive... that day is the end of the other platform.

That's why i don't think MS and Sony will try and go for EA.
FIFA will never be exclusive. That's not even their IP. There's a reason why MLB: The Show is now multiplatform.

The biggest EA franchises are not their own IPs...it's not worth it for them to buy EA. Besides, i don't see MS doing any sizable acquisition like this until the Activision deal is complete, that's for sure.
 
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kingkenny76

Member
For the people who can't view the article:



EA's 500m user accounts exceed Activision's monthly active user total. But EA has been less successful at extracting money from players. The sub 20 per cent operating margin over the past year compares poorly with Activision's 35 per cent.

God gaming has gone to shit
Whale GIF
whale GIF
 

Ozriel

Member
I think EA is just too expensive for what it offers. If you buy Konami and snatch licenses from FIFA to eFootball you've already done it right with a cheaper cheque.

EA has the brand strength to transfer the bulk of their customers to their newly renamed game without too much stress.

A rebadged e-football will still crater when it comes to a head on comparison with EA’s football.
 

Ozriel

Member
That's why i don't think MS and Sony will try and go for EA.
FIFA will never be exclusive. That's not even their IP.

All they’d need to do is jettison the FIfA name. I doubt their FIFPro license has any stipulation for number of platforms.

In the 3 years it’ll take for any competitor to make a full featured game, the renamed EA game will be THE dominant football game.

That said, I don’t want EA to be acquired. I’d rather see a scenario where someone pays a lump sum for day one launch on a subscription service.
 
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Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
EA has the brand strength to transfer the bulk of their customers to their newly renamed game without too much stress.

A rebadged e-football will still crater when it comes to a head on comparison with EA’s football.

If Sony gets Konami, and with its UEFA Champions League sponsorship, it can really make FIFA vanish. It'll have the money power to buy licenses and snatch them from EA as well.

That doesn't mean it'll be exclusive by the way, it must be multiplat. Just see how good MLB is selling now.
 
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Ozzie666

Member
FIFA and NFL won't allow exclusivity. Whom ever buys EA would need to bring them out across multiple platforms. But EA has a treasure trove of IPs, Origin systems properties for starters.

In truth, any publicly traded company could be bought. So why not EA, if the price is high enough, share holders only care about the return
 
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Ozriel

Member
If Sony gets Konami, and with its UEFA Champions League sponsorship, it can really make FIFA vanish. It'll have the money power to buy licenses and snatch them from EA as well.

That doesn't mean it'll be exclusive by the way, it must be multiplat. Just see how good MLB is selling now.

If EA sports FIFA gets renamed to ‘EA Football’, you’ll see tons of adverts for that in-game. A live patch will rename the game on your console. By end year, 95% of the player base will be fully familiar with the new name.

No new entrant is going to capture that market. Certainly not a reskinned eFootball/PES game.

I’m saying this as a former PES loyalist who only grudgingly moved to FIfA in 2010. The market has chosen one side.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
If EA sports FIFA gets renamed to ‘EA Football’, you’ll see tons of adverts for that in-game. A live patch will rename the game on your console. By end year, 95% of the player base will be fully familiar with the new name.

No new entrant is going to capture that market. Certainly not a reskinned eFootball/PES game.

I’m saying this as a former PES loyalist who only grudgingly moved to FIfA in 2010. The market has chosen one side.

Problem with Konami though it's too weak to compete with EA. That's why Sony behind them you can see things shifting. Lots of money to revamp the AI and engine, getting all possible licenses, and keeping it F2P as this concept is pretty brilliant then you really have a proper competitor there. This has nothing to do with exclusivity, but only sharing this massive pie of the biggest sport in the world.
 

xHunter

Member
If Sony gets Konami, and with its UEFA Champions League sponsorship, it can really make FIFA vanish. It'll have the money power to buy licenses and snatch them from EA as well.

That doesn't mean it'll be exclusive by the way, it must be multiplat. Just see how good MLB is selling now.
Fifa wont be replaced that easily. This isnt 2006 anymore where PES is a better game than Fifa minus the license. They would have to rebuild the entire franchise to make it somewhat competitive, which still wouldnt be enough.

Also, the Fifa name wont be used anymore, so there is nothing stopping MS (if they buy EA) from making Fifa an exclusive.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
Fifa wont be replaced that easily. This isnt 2006 anymore where PES is a better game than Fifa minus the license. They would have to rebuild the entire franchise to make it somewhat competitive, which still wouldnt be enough.

Also, the Fifa name wont be used anymore, so there is nothing stopping MS (if they buy EA) from making Fifa an exclusive.

None can make it exclusive. If MLB, a midget compared to FIFA, forced Sony to go multiplat, which was the best thing for them actually, then expect the same with any license from FIFA as well.
 

xHunter

Member
None can make it exclusive. If MLB, a midget compared to FIFA, forced Sony to go multiplat, which was the best thing for them actually, then expect the same with any license from FIFA as well.
But there is no FIFA game from EA anymore. They are going to rename it to, i think EA Sports FC or something like that.
 
All they’d need to do is jettison the FIfA name. I doubt their FIFPro license has any stipulation for number of platforms.

In the 3 years it’ll take for any competitor to make a full featured game, the renamed EA game will be THE dominant football game.

That said, I don’t want EA to be acquired. I’d rather see a scenario where someone pays a lump sum for day one launch on a subscription service.
Doesn't having Fifa licence allows them to have all the official teams and stuff?
If they lose that we'd see another PES happening almost for sure...or am i wrong?

I'll say what i said before...whatever happens i'll just not react anymore, lmao. I'm all in for the mess. It has started already and won't stop any time soon anyway.
 

Ozriel

Member
Problem with Konami though it's too weak to compete with EA. That's why Sony behind them you can see things shifting. Lots of money to revamp the AI and engine, getting all possible licenses, and keeping it F2P as this concept is pretty brilliant then you really have a proper competitor there. This has nothing to do with exclusivity, but only sharing this massive pie of the biggest sport in the world.

Yeah, but that’s time. Time taken to turn things around. As of today, eFootball is a laughingstock.

By the time they’ve turned things around (so let’s assume 3 years minimum), EA would have long moved their entire customer base to the new game. It’ll be the Football manager vs Championship manager issue all over again, just tilted more heavily to EA’s side.

Sony doesn’t even need to go with eFootball. They could try resurrecting their This Is Football brand. But it’s hard.


We actually have real world examples. See how EA’s NBA is trying and failing woefully to win back the lucrative NBA market from 2K. They put tons of money behind NBA Live’s revival and it failed.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
But there is no FIFA game from EA anymore. They are going to rename it to, i think EA Sports FC or something like that.

Yes, I meant FIFA the federation. I think eFootball is just struggling with the tight budget from Konami. With proper funding they can really put in a fight.
 
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Ozriel

Member
Doesn't having Fifa licence allows them to have all the official teams and stuff?
If they lose that we'd see another PES happening almost for sure...or am i wrong?

Nope. The fifa license is just for the name and to use official fifa competitions like the champions league and world cup.

The player names comes from a separate deal with FIFPro who aren’t tied to fifa. EA still has some exclusivity deals with those guys.
 

Clear

Gold Member
Doesn't having Fifa licence allows them to have all the official teams and stuff?
If they lose that we'd see another PES happening almost for sure...or am i wrong?

I'll say what i said before...whatever happens i'll just not react anymore, lmao. I'm all in for the mess. It has started already and won't stop any time soon anyway.

Team names and player likenesses are licensed independently of the FIFA branding, which covers the organization and its tournaments only.
 

xHunter

Member
Yes, I meant FIFA the federation. I think eFootball is just struggling with the tight budget from Konami, with proper funding they can really put in a fight.
I doubt the federation has any say in this, when they no longer use their name, but who knows, you might be right.
 
Nope. The fifa license is just for the name and to use official fifa competitions like the champions league and world cup.

The player names comes from a separate deal with FIFPro who aren’t tied to fifa. EA still has some exclusivity deals with those guys.

Team names and player likenesses are licensed independently of the FIFA branding, which covers the organization and its tournaments only.
Thank you. I wasn't sure about all that.
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
Activision was seeking to be purchased. They have companies lined up with offers including EA.

MS only bought them because they wanted to be bought.
 

JLB

Member
But there is no FIFA game from EA anymore. They are going to rename it to, i think EA Sports FC or something like that.

Thats only the name. The rest of licences (players, leagues, stadiums, etc) are abviously property of FIFA, UEFA and the other confederations.
 
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xHunter

Member
Thats only the name. The rest of licences (players, leagues, stadiums, etc) are abviously property of FIFA, UEFA and the other confederations.
Thats the FIFPro license, i dont think that they can dictate if a game is exlclusive or not. That would only be the case if they still use the FIFA name.
 
Microsoft is just waiting to plant some sexual allegations against EA, to drop their market share then acquire them at a huge discount.
 
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jufonuk

not tag worthy
So both machines are too similar so this is the only way to outdo each other ? MS and Sony I mean.

If they keep on buying up everything they going to stagnate the games market or at the very worst crash big AAA titles or bankrupt themselves.

Nintendo can’t afford to get Involved in a bidding war for other companies of that size. So they just gonna do their own thing. I hope anyway.
 
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Without the FIFA licence EA are nothing. I’m sure I read somewhere fifa will be allow other studios or companies to use the licence and going forward for EA’s fifa games they’re to rebrand their football games to EA football or something along them lines.
 

Kenpachii

Member
Ea doesn't own the fifa license. So honestly if they buy it, its not for fifa. As they could get fifa easily by just getting the license as its up for grabs anyway i believe.

Anyway, valve/epic seems a more likely target for brain interface, gigantic library and presence, and epic for metaverse engine + those human models they create + all there games run on it.

Or tencent because of there investments in company's such as epic.
 

JLB

Member
Thats the FIFPro license, i dont think that they can dictate if a game is exlclusive or not. That would only be the case if they still use the FIFA name.

TBH I have no idea, licenses of these companies and entities are confederations are so complex that unless someone is a specialized lawyer on the subject is nearly impossible to follow.
 
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Amiga

Member
Sony have the capability to make any type of game if they invest in it enough. A reason Sony never did that in the 1st place is to not compete with 3rd party publishers who are basically their costumers. But if they become competition then commitments are void.
So every 3rd party game taken off the board can be replaced and the damage mitigated. And get 100% of the games revenue from publishing and developing instead of just the 15% platform commission . So if a game sells half as CoD or FIFA it would make Sony more money.
 
What about Disney? They’re a massive entertainment juggernaut with a ridiculously huge list of valuable IP, yet with barely any gaming presence.
 

spookyfish

Member
Well, let’s see if any public accusations of mistreatment come out, driving EA’s stock down. If so, I’d say Microsoft is getting ready to tender an offer.
 

abcdrstuv

Member
The Sims, EA Sports (Madden/FIFA), BioWare, Respawn, NFS… Plus SSX, Fight Night, NCAA, Def Jam, Command & Conquer, NBA Street dormant..

But besides licensing, Sims/Madden/FIFA are so big, you can’t do exclusivity, you’re really buying control, and revenue, and name recognition.
 

LordBlodgett

Gold Member
EA is worth far less to a platform holder than other developers/publishers because a lot of their biggest games (FIFA/Madden/NHL/F1/UFC/NBA) are all licensed games with license holders that are very unlikely to allow single platform exclusivity. The likely 50 billion dollar price tag isn't worth it when more than half of your games are not going to be exclusive
 
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