EA has agreed a buyout offer for Codemasters, outbidding the acquisition offer made by Take-Two Interactive earlier this year. In a recent announcement, EA said that it "has reached an agreement" to acquire the British studio for $1.2 billion.
That announcement comes just a few weeks after a similar message from Take-Two, publisher of franchises from Grand Theft Auto to Borderlands, which issued its own bid for Codemasters in November. That deal was said to be worth around $994 million, and was due to complete in early 2021, until EA arrived with a higher bid.
EA says that bringing Codemasters' racing expertise - the studio is the home of the Dirt, Grid, and Formula One franchises - alongside its own Need for Speed and other sporting titles, "will enable our teams to innovate further." The publisher also "believes it can help accelerate Codematers' performance by leveraging EA's deep expertise in live services operations."
According to VGC, the Codemasters' board has withdrawn its recommendation of Take-Two's offer in favour of the larger offer put forward by EA. Take-Two now says that it is "considering its position in relation to Codemasters and a further announcement will be made when appropriate." Whether or not that means it's considering a counter-offer is yet to be seen, but as the EA acquisition is due to take place in Q1 2020, and with the Christmas period likely to slow things down, Take-Two might need to move quickly.
Exactly what this might mean for Codemasters remains to be seen, but it's certainly interesting to see EA referencing the Need for Speed franchise. The series has been moved back and forth between the company's studios over the past few years, settling back with another UK-based studio, Criterion, earlier this year.
Codemasters features pretty heavily on our list of the best racing games.