GTA publishers set for £726m buy-out of Codemasters

Date published: November 10 2020 - Finley Crebolder

F1 2020 Hanoi

Codemasters, the developer of the official F1 games, is set to be bought out by Take-Two, the publishing company behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

The official Formula 1 video games have been developed and published by Codemasters since the company acquired the rights in 2008.

In that time, 13 games have been released, with the latest edition, F1 2020, widely acclaimed amongst both critics and fans, being used for the sport’s official Virtual Grand Prix series earlier in 2020.

It now looks all but certain that Take-Two Interactive will buy the company, having tabled an offer valued at around £726million which is expected to be accepted in the coming weeks.

“With a leading position in sports gaming, the Board of Codemasters firmly believes the Company will benefit from Take-Two’s broad capabilities which will help propel the long term success of Codemasters,” Codemasters chairman Gerhard Florin said in an announcement.

“In recommending this Offer to shareholders, the Board of Codemasters believes it is in the best interests of all stakeholders in the Company.”

Through its ownership of Rockstar Games and 2K, Take-Two is best known for developing the GTA franchise, the official NBA games and the hugely popular Red Dead Redemption series, as well as many more.

The Codemasters games would be released under the 2K publishing label, which specialises in sports games.

“We are exceedingly pleased to announce this recommended transaction with the Board of Codemasters,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said.

“Codemasters has a renowned history of creating some of our industry’s most beloved and commercially successful racing franchises, and we believe that their offerings will be highly complementary to our sports portfolio and enhance further our organization’s long-term growth.

“Moreover, we look forward to welcoming Codemasters’ senior management and development teams into our Take-Two family, and sharing in our vision to deliver the highest quality entertainment experiences and aim to be the most innovative, creative and efficient company in our industry.”

Take-Two will use a combination of stocks and cash to buy all shares in Codemasters, leading to them owning 100% of the company. The deal is expected to be completed by late March of 2021.

With the Formula 1 games usually released in the summer, it’s likely that the deal will have an effect on F1 2021, although to what extent is unclear.

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