Amazon not expected to bid for Electronic Arts, says CNBC

FILE PHOTO: The Electronic Arts Inc., logo is displayed on a screen during a PlayStation 4 Pro launch event in New York City, U.S., September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) Inc is not expected to bid for Electronic Arts Inc, CNBC said on Friday, citing sources, quashing an earlier report that the online giant would make an offer today for the videogame publisher.

EA shares jumped 15% in premarket trading after the report from USA Today on Amazon's takeover offer for the "FIFA" and "Apex Legends" owner. The stock was up 4% in early trading, giving the company a market valuation of over $37 billion.

Amazon and EA said they do not comment on rumors and M&A speculation.

Sitting on a cash pile of about $37 billion, Amazon has hit the acquisition trail to diversify its business beyond e-commerce and cloud under new Chief Executive Andy Jassy.

The company earlier this month offered to buy Roomba-maker iRobot Corp for $1.7 billion, just weeks after agreeing to acquire primary care provider One Medical for $3.5 billion.

Amazon, which owns videogame live-streaming platform Twitch, has also purchased MGM studios, the maker of "Rocky" and "James Bond", movies for $8.5 billion.

EA's strong licenses, intellectual property rights and the potential to build new games in the metaverse make it an attractive option for tech giants looking to grab attention from a younger audience, analysts said.

Bets on the metaverse had also powered Microsoft Corp's $68.7 billion deal for EA rival and "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard Inc in January

The new deals are also blurring the line between personal computer and mobile gaming companies and come against the backdrop of a struggling global gaming industry as the pandemic-fueled surge in demand ebbs.

The global gaming market is expected to grow just 2% in 2022 from a year ago, data from research firm Newzoo showed, a far cry from the 23% growth clocked in 2020.

EA has forecast lackluster adjusted sales numbers, saying it was not "completely immune" to recession.

Its shares had lost about 3% to Thursday's close, compared with a nearly 30% drop for Take-Two.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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