EA to buy racing game developer Codemasters for $1.2 billion

An Electronic Arts (EA) video game logo is seen at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles last year.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

LONDON — Electronic Arts reached an agreement on Monday to buy U.K. video game developer Codemasters in a deal worth $1.2 billion.

The deal upstaged a previous transaction agreed between rival publisher Take-Two Interactive and Codemasters. The firm had agreed to acquire Codemasters for £726 million ($971 million) only last month.

“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,” the British firm said in a release.

EA said Codemasters’ shareholders would receive £6.04 in cash for each ordinary share of Codemasters. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, EA added.

The acquisition of Codemasters marks the biggest deal in EA’s history, and comes amid increasing consolidation in the video game industry as the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated demand for gaming.

In September, Microsoft announced it would buy ZeniMax Media, the company that owns Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion, the biggest gaming acquisition in Microsoft’s history.

Codemasters is mostly known for its Formula One and Dirt racing game franchises. A combination with EA would see those big titles come under the same ownership as popular racing game series Need for Speed.

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