Electronic Arts may be on the market, if anonymous sources speaking to The New York Post are to be believed. Apparently, the massive games publisher is “quietly exploring a sale.” If that’s the case, then Electronic Arts has failed miserably at keeping this a secret. Talks are still at an early stage, these sources claim, but equity firms KKR and Providence Equity Partners are said to be two companies that are interested in making a deal.
Electronic Arts, however, is remaining silent on these rumored acquisitions, giving the typical response that it doesn’t comment on speculation. It would make sense that Electronic Arts is seeking a buyer, as we’re in the middle of a transition in the gaming industry. Electronic Arts, despite being the second-largest games publisher, is having some trouble as boxed game sales decline, though its recent efforts in the social and mobile games markets seem to be paying off quite well.
There’s also the problem with Star Wars: The Old Republic. The currently-stalled MMO was a massive financial risk for Electronic Arts, and one that hasn’t played out so well. Star Wars: The Old Republic will be going free-to-play later this year, which many analysts think will help EA’s bottom line, but the truth is that we just don’t know if this transition will work until it actually happens. Until then, we can speculate all we want, but that doesn’t change the fact that Star Wars: The Old Republic is still hurting big time.
It’s worth pointing out that Providence Equity Partners owns ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Skyrim developer Bethesda, so it isn’t surprising that Providence might be interested in buying Electronic Arts too. EA’s stock is up today, ending at $13.81 – the company apparently wants to net a significant premium on that stock price in a buyout, with sources saying that it would sell for $20 per share. This is definitely an interesting rumor, so stay tuned to SlashGear for more details.