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Electronic Arts swoops in to gatecrash deal to buy Codemasters


British video game company Codemasters has accepted a £945m bid from its bigger Californian rival Electronic Arts (EA), gatecrashing a planned deal between Codemasters and US giant Take-Two Interactive.

Best known for its racing games, including the Dirt Rally series and Formula 1 licences, Codemasters is headquartered in the Midlands and has a studio in Runcorn.

It had been set for a takeover by Take-Two after it received a bid last month valuing it at £739m.

But EA, one of the biggest video games companies in the world and behind franchises including the FIFA and Harry Potter games, has swooped with a 604p-a-share cash offer that has been unanimously recommended by Codemasters.

“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,” EA CEO Andrew 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.”

Codemasters’ shares were up around 20p this morning, to 638p, having surged 18% on Friday.

The company recently announced it had turned over £80.5m in the six months to September 30th, up from £39.8m last year, while operating profits were up from £12m to £20.3m.

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