The internet was awash this morning with reports about a bunch of big tech companies not buying gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA). If you saw the reports and found yourself puzzling whether EA was ever for sale, well, you’re not alone.
Here’s the thing: EA kind of was for sale, according to reports. But it seems talks fell through, sparking reports about Apple and Amazon backing out of potential bids to buy EA. The whole saga appears to be a knot of various rumours and speculation dating back several months, so let’s dive in.
In late May, an article published in Puck indicated that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts approached EA CEO Andrew Wilson with a proposal to spin off NBCUniversal and merge Comcast with EA. That proposal came in the wake of the Microsoft-Activision deal. However, Puck notes that the deal fell apart, and EA started shopping itself around with other companies, including Disney, Apple, and Amazon.
That news got picked up and circulated by other outlets, such as Video Game Chronicle (VGC), and even MobileSyrup. It seems the story fell dormant until USA Today’s gaming vertical For The Win reported that Apple bowed out of talks and Amazon was poised to purchase EA. That sparked scrutiny from CNBC, which cited “sources” that told the publication Amazon wasn’t expected to buy EA.
An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC the company doesn’t comment on rumours or speculation, while an EA spokesperson declined to comment.
For The Win later updated its story to note Amazon isn’t expected to buy EA, saying:
“Earlier today, GLHF — a gaming/e-sports outlet and content partner of For The Win — ran a version of this story on our website that violated our editorial standards regarding the use of unnamed and unvetted sources. We have updated this story to remove all mention of those sources.”
Reuters reported that the rumour about Amazon purchasing EA sparked a jump in EA’s shares, which climbed 15 percent in pre-market trading off the news. The publication also noted that, although Amazon isn’t expected to buy EA, it could be a potentially good acquisition for the e-commerce giant. EA has strong licences and IP and would fit in well with things like Amazon’s Twitch game streaming service.
It’s worth noting that Amazon has been on an acquisition spree recently, buying robot vacuum company iRobot and healthcare provider One Medical.
So in summary, a report citing unnamed sources claimed Amazon was going to acquire EA, causing EA’s stock price to jump, before other reports deflated the rumour based on other unnamed sources.
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