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Mergers & Acquisitions

AT&T Sells Playdemic Mobile Gaming Studio

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Published: June 28th, 2021
Electronic Arts will pay $1.4 billion for the producer of 'Golf Clash,' adding to a sports rivalry with Take-Two.

AT&T Inc. (T) continues to divest assets with the Wednesday, June 23, sale of Warner Bros. Games’ Playdemic Ltd.

Redwood City, Calif., video game maker Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is buying the mobile gaming company, which publishes “Golf Clash,” for $1.4 billion. While the deal is a matter of balance sheet maintenance for AT&T, for Electronic Arts it represents greater ambitions in sports gaming.

Golf Clash, which has more than 80 million downloads, allows players to compete against other mobile users, either in one-on-one games or in tournaments.

The payout likely comes to about six or seven times sales with an Ebitda multiple in the teens, Doug Creutz of Cowen & Co. estimated in a Wednesday note.

Electronic Arts could use “Golf Clash” to expand into soccer and American football, fueling a growing rivalry in sports games with Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO), Creutz added.

Recall that Electronic Arts sped past Take-Two in the stretch during the sale of British racing games specialist Codemasters Group Holdings plc. in late 2020. Electronic Arts offered £945 million ($1.26 billion) in December, after Take-Two agreed in November to purchase the company for £726 million.

In another deal with a sporting angle, Electronic Arts agreed in February to purchase Glu Mobile Inc. (GLUU) for $2.4 billion, or $2.1 billion after netting out cash. Though Glu may be best known for the “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” role-playing game, it also publishes “MLB Tap Sports Baseball.”

Meanwhile, Take-Two agreed in June to buy Belgrade, Serbia, mobile gaming studio Nordeus Holding Ltd. for up to $378 million, the company said June 2. Nordeus is known for “Top Eleven,” in which players manage a soccer team. Take-Two has also struck deals with the National Football League and Professional Golfers’ Association.

Time Warner Inc. unit Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment acquired acquired U.K.-based Playdemic in 2017. AT&T obtained the business when it purchased Time Warner in 2018 for $85.4 billion, or $108.7 billion, including the media company’s net debt.

Editor’s note: The original version of this article was published earlier on The Deal’s premium subscription website. For access, log in to TheDeal.com or use the form below to request a free trial.

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