Has the hunter become the hunted?
Electronic Arts, which pursued GTA publisher Take-Two Interactive for much of 2008, may now be an acquisition target of Disney.
According to financial website The Motley Fool, the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column suggested yesterday that Disney might be eyeing EA. The WSJ apparently based their speculation on comments made by Disney's Chief Financial Officer during a conference call on Tuesday. From the Fool:
Asked if Disney's focus would be on developing in-house games over buying more developers, [CFO Tom] Staggs responded, "I don't want you to conclude that those are in the long term mutually exclusive." He went on to say that a "strategic and attractive" purchase would be "a possibility" for the family entertainment giant.
Did he say Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS)? No. However, a combination of EA's battered share price and Disney's desire to ramp up its gaming presence dovetail nicely in the rumor mill.
The Motley Fool offers five reasons why a Disney takeover of EA makes sense:
- Disney has acquired game companies before (Avalanche Studios, Club Penguin)
- EA Sports and Disney's ESPN would have synergy
- Disney's MMOs haven't worked out so far, but EA has Warhammer
- Racing is a major theme is Disney's films and parks; EA has Need For Speed
- Convergence of Disney's theme parks with EA's strong IP
Still, The Motley Fool views the chances of a Disney-EA deal as slim. And, it's pretty clear that, when it talks about acquisitions, family-friendly Disney isn't thinking of Take-Two and GTA.