Electronic Arts is quietly exploring a sale to private equity firms, according to reports.
Sources close to the New York Post claim that the publishing giant has been approached by two private equity companies – KKR, and Providence Equity Partners, a major shareholder in Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax.
One source admitted: "It's early days," but another said that EA has "made it known they'd do a deal at $20 a share." EA's stock has fallen 37 per cent over the course of this year; its share price at the end of yesterday's trading was $13.09.
Huge news, admittedly, but it’s not especially surprising that there is interest in selling a company whose stock has fallen so far so quickly and shows little signs of an immediate recovery.
Like many large videogame publishers EA has been hit in recent years by the global financial crisis and the rapid rise of mobile and social gaming. The protracted console cycle hasn't helped, either, but it is widely expected that things will begin to turn around in the next 18 months, with new consoles from Microsoft and Sony expected before the end of 2013.
Yet it appears that is too long to wait for some, and no wonder – if EA's stock has fallen by over a third in 2012 alone, who knows what it might look like 18 months from now.