Author: Om Nica San Juan
eSports giant Electronic Arts had a successful 2020 thanks to soaring demand for gaming. Its stock rose from $110 prior to the pandemic to over $140 by the end of the year.
As of March 4, 2021, it was trading at $130.50, up by 21.94% over the trailing year. On the said date, it had grown by 2.02% over the previous three-month period. According to the research data analyzed and published by Sijoitusrahastot, on February 8, 2021, its share price rose by 1% following an announcement on its acquisition of Glu Mobile. Valued at $2.4 billion, the deal is set to close during the second quarter of the year.
The move aims to expand the reach of its mobile gaming segment. Glu Mobile is popular for its Kim Kadarshian Hollywood game. Other hits from the publisher include Disney’s Sorcerer’s Arena, Dine Dash Adventures and Tap Sports Baseball among others.
Among Glu’s differentiating factors is the fact that it has a focus on high-budget mobile games, mostly containing full 3D visuals. It also offers free-to-play games that make money via micro-transactions.
The value of the acquisition deal was equivalent to $12.50 per share. That was 36% higher than Glu’s closing price of $9.19 per share when the deal was announced.
Global Sports Video Games Market Worth Over $11 Billion
Glu Mobile’s acquisition was Electronic Arts’ second major acquisition. In December 2020, the company outbid Take-Two Interactive to acquire Codemasters for $1.2 billion. Take-Two had bid $973 million in November 2020.
UK-based Codemasters specializes in racing games such as Grid, Project Cars, F1 and Dirt among others. The acquisition was aimed at extending Electronic Arts’ edge in video game racing. Under the segment, Electronic Arts is renowned for its popular game Need for Speed.
On February 3, 2021, Codemasters’ shareholders voted in favor of the acquisition, which is set to close in Q1 2021. After the completion of the deal, Codemasters will be owned by Electronic Arts’ subsidiary, Codex Games.
Highlighting the financial opportunity in the acquisitions, Electronic Arts estimates that the global sports video games market is worth more than $11 billion. $7 billion of this is on PC and console while mobile accounts for a $4.3 billion share.
Moreover, spending on sports-based games is growing faster than on other game categories. Mobile sports games are leading the charge with a compound annual growth rate of 24% over the past four years.
Electronic Arts has set a goal of reaching 500 million players and viewers across its titles in 2021. In 2020, it reported having 231 million players and viewers thanks to pandemic-related growth.
Electronic Arts Projects $5.6 Billion Net Revenue for Fiscal 2021
For its fiscal third quarter of 2021 which ended on December 31, 2020, Electronic Arts posted an increase of 5% in net revenue. The figure rose from $1.59 billion in FY20 Q3 to $1.67 billion. During the period, FIFA Ultimate Team hit an all-time high of 6 million daily active players.
Net bookings during the quarter shot up by 18.8%, going from $2 billion in the previous-year period to $2.4 billion.
The main contributor to the tally was the console segment, whose bookings totaled $1.8 billion. However, the segment grew by a mere 17% compared to the PC & Others segment which grew by 40%, generating $399 million.
Additionally, there was a significant decline in net income during the quarter. At $211 million, it was 39% lower than the previous year’s $346 million.
For the 2020 calendar year, Electronic Arts’ net bookings totaled $5.96 billion, increasing by 8% from 2019. During its fiscal 2021 which ends in March, the company projects that total bookings will reach $6.1 billion. It projects $5.6 billion in net revenue for its fiscal 2021, with net income estimated at $742 million.
FIFA, one of the brand’s flagship games was a significant part of the remarkable year. In the UK, which is its top market globally, FIFA 21 was the highest-selling video game. According to The Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA), there were over 2 million discs and downloads sold. FIFA 20 ranked fourth on the list.
Moreover, for the first time since summer 2013, Electronic Arts is planning to launch college football in 2021. Though it will not have likenesses of college football players, it will complement the NFL Madden game.
In spite of its cancellation back then, the series has continued to spark passion from fans, living on through blog and video content. According to data published by Tubular Labs, since the start of 2019, it has had close to 33 million views on YouTube.
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