Electronic Arts has completed the acquisition of Codemasters, one of the UK’s longest-running and most-storied studios. A press release confirmed that the sale price was “604 pence (approximately US$8.37) in cash for each ordinary share of Codemasters with an implied enterprise value of US$1.2 billion.”
Though latterly known for its expertise in racing games, Codemasters was founded in 1986 by brothers David and Richard Darling and, working across platforms from the ZX Spectrum to Commodore 64, quickly established a reputation for quality titles: as well as a willingness to cock a snook at platform-holders with unusual products like the Game Genie.
Recent decades have seen Codemasters pivot entirely towards the racing genre, and its expertise there is what inspired the recent bidding war between EA and Take-Two in order to acquire the developer. Both publishers are giants, and both have serious designs on different areas of sports games. Following Take-Two’s initial interest, which got as far as a tentative deal being agreed, EA got involved in December, and when the price hit a cool $1.2 billion Take-Two decided to withdraw.
Two weeks ago 63 of Codemasters’ 76 shareholders (representing 99% of held shares) approved EA’s takeover bid, making the official announcement something of a formality, but here it is.
We’re excited to welcome @Codemasters to the EA family! ?? pic.twitter.com/y3yYB94vmFFebruary 18, 2021
As one might expect it makes a big deal of the F1 and Dirt series’, as well as Project Cars by Slightly Mad Studios, which as a subsidiary of Codemasters is part of the deal. Sadly no mention of the late, great Operation Flashpoint, Codemasters’ dormant but much-loved ‘sim’ FPS series, but you can’t have everything. EA would probably make it a mobile game anyway.
EA has previously told investors that the Codemasters acquisition is all about making itself “a global leader in racing entertainment”, with the capacity to put out new “racing experiences” on an annual basis.
“Today is a landmark in Codemasters’ history, and an exciting day for our employees and players,” said Frank Sagnier, CEO of Codemasters. “The partnership with EA will enable our teams to take our highly-acclaimed franchises to new heights and reach a huge global audience through their player network. Together we can redefine the landscape of racing games to create even more compelling experiences for racing fans around the world.”