Electronic Arts has commented on its acquisition strategy, amid reports it could be one of several publishers interested in purchasing Warner’s games business.
According to CNBC and The Information, Warner’s parent company AT&T is looking to generate around $4 billion to pay off some of its substantial debt. Electronic Arts is said to be one of the interested parties, alongside Take-Two, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.
Asked on Thursday about its acquisition strategy and the “one big asset we know of” that is believed to be for sale, EA’s COO Blake Jorgensen declined to comment specifically on Warner but said EA was “more interested than ever” in acquiring talent.
However, the exec emphasised that EA was more interested in acquiring talent than game franchises.
“It is very rare that we don’t get a chance to look at anything that’s up for sale,” he said during the publisher’s Q1 earnings call, in which it announced record results.
“You can imagine people call us and say, ‘we’re thinking about selling a 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 their business. So we get to look at almost everything.
“I can’t comment on any specific acquisition other than what I will tell you is, 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.”
Jorgensen pointed to Respawn as a “classic example” of the type of acquisitions EA typically likes to go for.
“It wasn’t about Titanfall – and that’s no offense to Titanfall, it’s an amazing game and we’ll maybe see a Titanfall at some point sometime down the road – but it was really about the team and it starts at the top with Vince but it goes all the way through the whole organization,” he said.
“So we’re always looking at that. We’ll always continue to look at that. We would hope we can find more. Our hope was is that some of the challenges in our broad world economy would actually make people think and understand that being sub-scale is difficult, but at the same time as you’ve seen from our results, I think everybody’s going to do well in the next couple of quarters in our industry.
“And so it might take some time, but trust that we are more interested than ever because we see talent and building great new franchises is critical to the long-term growth for business.”
If a sale goes through, many of the Warner Bros. IP tied to in-development games, such as Harry Potter and Batman, would not be part of the deal but could be licensed, according to CNBC’s sources.
Warner’s games division reportedly had big announcements scheduled for E3 2020 prior to the show’s cancellation.
These included a new Batman title, an open-world Harry potter game, and the next project from Arkham developer Rocksteady Studios.
Warner Bros. Interactive also owns NetherRealm (Mortal Kombat), TT Games (Lego), Monolith (Middle-Earth: Shadow or War) and internal studios based in Montreal, Boston, New York and San Francisco.