ESPN sells majority stake in X Games to private equity firm
For the first time, the video game publisher Electronic Arts is being bought by a private equity firm, according to two sources.
The investment firm is based in the US, and has made at least two other large acquisitions of game companies in the last few years.
Electronic Arts said in December that it will not be making an official change of control by the end of the year. It said that the move was “an execution of a strategic, orderly transition period.” The decision will create a new company with a new name and ownership structure. EA’s current owners continue to hold a majority stake in the company.
Electronic Arts did not respond Tuesday to an email request for comment.
PricewaterhouseCoopers was hired as the consultant for the buyout, a source close to the matter said.
The move would be a major step in the company’s quest to turn itself into a more diversified media company, and one that could expand its offerings on mobile and social media.
Electronic Arts’ CEO, Brian Kelly, had recently been trying to transform the company, which has been a force in gaming for decades, into a bigger media company than it is today. It is also attempting to turn itself around in the face of an industry that appears to have plateaued at around $10 billion in global annual revenue.
Electronic Arts has been one of the most stable companies in the gaming industry in recent years, but its share of the console hardware market was growing less rapid than most observers expected. Electronic Arts last month reported its first quarterly revenue decline in years.
The move, which the company does not plan on announcing until it has been formally completed, would come on the eve of a major conference call with investors on Thursday.
The company had been looking for a partner in the video games business whose focus was on media and media companies. While Electronic Arts was not the only