With rumors swirling that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is up for sale, gaming giant Electronic Arts has commented about its general approach toward buying studios. As part of the company’s latest earnings briefing, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen–who controls the company’s money–said EA is “more interested than ever” in buying studios. He refused to comment specifically on Warner Bros. but he pointed out that EA–as one of the biggest gaming companies on the planet–is usually in the mix when studios get put up for sale.
“It is very rare that we don’t get a chance to look at anything that is up for sale,” Jorgensen said. “You can imagine … people call us and say we’re thinking about selling the business or we’re thinking about selling ourselves. We are a place that a lot of people want to come as a long-term home if they decide to sell the business. We get to look at almost everything.”
Jorgensen said he “can’t comment on any specific acquisition,” but he pointed out that EA’s acquisitions in the past have come from long-standing partnerships. EA isn’t necessarily interested in snapping up a studio to get its portfolio of games–instead, it wants to invest in talent. All of this sure sounds like EA is not going after Warner Bros.
“As you’ve seen in the past, where we’ve done the best is where we have long-term relationships with people and we’re really trying to buy great talent versus games,” he said. “I think Respawn is a classic example of that. We were able to bring them into the fold and give them incredible support and it was all driven by the fact that they have incredible talent. It wasn’t about Titanfall–no offense to Titanfall. It’s an amazing game and maybe you’ll see Titanfall some time down the road. But it was really about the team.”
EA worked with Respawn for years on the Titanfall franchise before buying the company in 2016 for hundreds of millions of dollars. Respawn has continued to perform well in recent years, releasing the popular battle royale game Apex Legends and the massively successful Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Looking ahead, Jorgensen said EA will “always” look at new creative-led teams to acquire. However, EA may not make any acquisitions soon, due in part to how the global pandemic has led to companies enjoying great fortunes and may be less likely to sell.
But overall, Jorgensen said EA is “more interested than ever because we see talent, and building great new franchises is critical to the long-term growth of the business.”
In addition to EA, Take-Two, Activision, and Microsoft have all reportedly expressed some level of interest in exploring a purchase of WBIE. The company publishes titles like Batman: Arkham Knight, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and Mortal Kombat 11, among many others.