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EA outmaneuvers Take-Two with a last minute bid for this developer

In an unforeseen maneuver, EA managed to buy out development company Codemasters from right under Take-Two Interactive's noses. Take-Two had originally made an earlier $994 million bid for Codemasters in November, but EA offered an even larger amount of money — $1.2 billion, to be exact. Take-Two has yet to counter the offer, so it's looking very likely that Codemasters will be under the EA publishing label.

EA released a statement earlier today regarding the deal. Anticipating an early 2021 acquisition, EA and Codemasters leaders expressed their excitement for this new partnership. Andrew Wilson, the CEO of EA, discussed the many opportunities that lie ahead for both companies after this deal is signed.

"We believe there is a deeply compelling opportunity in bringing together Codemasters and Electronic Arts to create amazing and innovative new racing games for fans," Wilson said. "Our industry is growing, the racing category is growing, and together we will be positioned to lead in a new era of racing entertainment."

As the developers behind franchises like F1, Dirt, and Grid, Codemasters is one of the racing genre's most well-known publishers. While EA will have a new developer under its belt, Codemasters will also benefit immensely from EA's brand and marketing. Codemasters Chairman, Gerhard Florin, expressed how excited he is about the company's new global potential.

"We feel this union would provide an exciting and prosperous future for Codemasters, allowing our teams to create, launch and service bigger and better games to an extremely passionate audience," Florin said.

While this new partnership could mean new racing IPs for EA, there's also a chance the company is looking towards revamping one of its own franchises. Need for Speed is one of EA's most well-known racing series, but the company shut down Ghost Games — the developers behind the last few entries of the franchise — earlier this year. Production of new titles in the series was handed to Criterion in the UK, the original developers behind the series.

Additionally, Codemasters recently launched Dirt 5, an off-roads racing title that received mixed reviews. Despite the reception, the game was praised for its Playground Mode which allowed players to edit and create their own tracks to try for themselves or share online. The game went for a more arcade approach than previous entries in the series, which may have inadvertently caused the lukewarm reviews.

This new partnership could be exactly what both companies need in order to revitalize their respective series. If Codemasters combines its talent for creating racing games with EA's guidance, this new partnership could usher in a new era for the racing genre.