[Source: CNN News]
All things considered, video game leader Electronic Arts is having a pretty decent year despite inflation worries, recession fears and other macroeconomic headwinds.
Shares of EA (EA) are only down about 2% in 2022, a drop that’s not nearly as bad as the rest of the tech sector, which is now in bear market territory.
But there are concerns about EA’s future as the gaming industry consolidates.
Xbox owner Microsoft (MSFT) is in the process of buying Activision Blizzard (ATVI). Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) has already scooped up mobile game developer Zynga.
Will EA be able to remain independent as its peers continue to grow? There’s also growing competition from the likes of metaverse mobile gaming company Roblox and Fortnite maker Epic.
Even Netflix (NFLX) has thrown its hat into the gaming arena.
EA has a lot of lucrative franchises, such as the long-running Madden NFL games, a popular soccer series (that will soon lose the FIFA branding), Apex Legends and several games tied to the Star Wars universe.
And there has been a lot of chatter about EA being a good takeover target for deep-pocketed tech and media firms such as Apple (AAPL), Disney (DIS), Comcast (CMCSA), or Amazon (AMZN).
So will EA finally get bought? The company was not immediately available for comment.
But EA has been acquisitive in its own right and could be looking for further deals, particularly ones that could bolster its mobile gaming division.
EA made two such acquisitions in 2021, Glu for $2.4 billion and Playdemic (formerly owned by previous CNN parent AT&T (T)) for $1.4 billion.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs estimate that there’s about a 15% probability that EA could itself be acquired, “given heightened levels of M&A activity within the video game space,” according to a recent report about the broader tech sector.
It’s a small chance to be sure, but it’s bigger than zero.
The analysts came up with a potential takeover valuation of $190 a share, which is “consistent with recent video game transactions.” That’s nearly 50% above EA’s current stock price.
Still, EA has enough quality content to justify going it alone for the foreseeable future.
Wells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald noted in a report after EA’s latest earnings came out in May that a “solid pipeline” (more games from EA Sports, plus updates to The Sims, Lord of the Rings and Bioware franchises) as well as “accelerating mobile growth” were positives for the stock.
So EA may not need to sell itself to a larger company to remain competitive in the video game world.