Update: USA Today has now added an update to the original story stating that the version which ran earlier today was a violation of the outlet's editorial standards (opens in new tab). The most recent version of the article makes no mention of GLHF and states plainly that "Amazon is not expected to make a bid for EA".
Update: GLHF now seems to have walked back its original claims in what Bloomberg's Jason Schreier described as (opens in new tab) a "bizarre update that offers no explanation or indication that the rumor originated from them in the first place".
Original story: Earlier today a rumour began circulating that Amazon was preparing to make a formal offer to acquire EA, with USA Today's gaming blog citing its own sources that a bid was imminent. This unconfirmed report quickly circulated through the gaming media ecosystem, as well as all the usual channels, and saw EA's stock price begin to shoot up in pre-market trading, at one point rising 15% in value.
It wasn't long, however, until CNBC's stock market team began pouring cold water on the idea. In the below clip, reporter David Faber states plainly, "No, this is not going to happen today. Unless the people who have been involved [in acquisition talks] previously have no idea".
Amazon is not going to make a bid for Electronic Arts, sources tell CNBC's @DavidFaber. Shares of $EA surged earlier on a report citing a "rumor." pic.twitter.com/k7wk0Fy7xvAugust 26, 2022
PC Gamer has heard the rumour of this potential acquisition independently, but it seems clear that whatever's happening, it may not be happening today.
The initial report cited GLHF sources in USA Today (opens in new tab), saying Amazon finally decided to put in an offer for the company after weeks of rumours that one megacorp or another was set to acquire the publisher. The rumoured Amazon offer was framed in the context of the company's recent foray into television. That does make sense: Amazon has already been out and about signing deals with companies making shows based on the likes of Disco Elysium and Sonic.
EA's stock price initially surged on the back of these rumours: rising 15% in premarket trading based on these rumours alone. Of course, things are in constant flux, and following the CNBC rumour-quashing, it's now on a similarly precipitous decline. And the story may not end here (opens in new tab).
It's looking like a bumpy Friday over at EA and Amazon both. It's worth saying that, while some may have jumped the gun, the acquisition rumours involving EA have been increasingly persistent in recent times, with its CEO recently having to reassure shareholders that there were no such plans. That's suit talk, of course, because deals on this scale don't tend to leak: Microsoft's offer for Activision for an incomprehensible $68.7 billion came out of nowhere, a deal that makes Take-Two's acquisition of Zynga for $12.7 billion feel relatively affordable.
There's a lot of smoke, but no fire yet. This could be a deal waiting to happen, and it could be complete pie-in-the-sky: just another example of the modern media ecosystem sending an unconfirmed report halfway around the world before the truth managed to get its boots on. We've contacted both EA and Amazon for comment and will update with any response.