NBCUniversal reportedly almost merged with Electronic Arts, as Comcast CEO Brian Roberts apparently approached EA CEO Andrew Wilson with a proposal to combine the entertainment media company with the gaming giant.
According to Puck, both NBCUniversal and EA’s lawyers and bankers negotiated for weeks about how a potential merger would take place. The general proposal reportedly had the Roberts family take control of the combined company, but with current EA CEO Andrew Wilson running the company.
If Wilson had been the CEO of the merged company, then the current NBCUniversal CEO, Jeff Shell, reportedly would have been given a higher role within Comcast — and Shell was reportedly involved with the discussions as well.
During the last month of discussions, the proposal didn’t go through due to disagreements surrounding the price of the merger and how it would be structured. But amid the mergers and acquisition trend in the games industry right now, EA reportedly spoke with other big companies such as Disney, Apple, and Amazon about potentially being acquired.
EA’s interest in acquisition has reportedly increased since Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard earlier this year. Though a primary concern for any merger for EA will allow Wilson to stay as CEO of the combined entity.
As recently as March, EA also reportedly approached Disney in order to pursue a “more meaningful relationship,” instead of just simply doing licensing deals as it does with something like the Star Wars games.
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EA spokesperson John Reseburg didn’t comment on this specific rumor, but provided a statement to Puck, saying, “We are proud to be operating from a position of strength and growth, with a portfolio of amazing games, built around powerful IP, made by incredibly talented teams, and a network of more than half a billion players. We see a very bright future ahead.”
NBCUniversal once had its own games publishing business but shut it down back in 2019, only after under 3 years of starting it.
George Yang is a Freelance Writer for IGN.