Games developer Codemasters seems to be at the centre of a bidding war. Take-Two Interactive, the company behind the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Bioshock, was set to take control of the British outfit in a £759 million deal, but now EA has complicated matters by entering the fray with a whopping £945 million offer.
Codemasters, responsible for the Dirt rally series and the official F1 games, has advised its shareholders to take EA’s deal. “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,” said Gerhard Florin, Codemasters’ chairman.
EA’s signature racing franchise is Need for Speed, the production of which recently went back subsidiary Criterion, another British-based EA subsidiary. As part of the move, Swedish subsidiary Ghost Games is being dissolved and repurposed as an engineering hub.
Take-Two says it is “considering its position in relation to Codemasters and a further announcement will be made when appropriate”. Although it’s a much smaller company than EA, Take-Two will likely try and bring more money to the table, The Guardian reports. “I think Take-Two Interactive can counter with a higher offer due to the long term strategic value of Codemasters’ IP and technology,” Mirabaud analyst Neil Campling told the publication.
It’s understandable for the two parties to be so keen to snap up Codemasters, considering its focus on racing games. Sim racing was already on the rise even before the Covid-19 pandemic and the paused IRL motorsport year thrust virtual competition into the spotlight. Both parties are lacking when it comes to good racing titles, and if you’re going to buy one company to rectify that, it doesn’t get much better than Codemasters. Its strong motorsport portfolio was bolstered further not so long ago with the acquisition of Slightly Mad Studios and in the process the Project Cars series.