Electronic Arts, the mega-publisher behind game franchises like Madden NFL, SimCity, Battlefield and Mass Effect, is putting itself up for sale.
The New York Post reports that EA is currently in early talks with a pair of private equity firms about purchasing the company. One of the firms, Providence Equity Partners, already owns Bethesda Softworks who is behind games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 3 and has studios such as Id Software under its umbrella.
EA's market cap has dropped 37 percent so far this year and its stocks were trading at $13.09 a share when the market closed on Wednesday but opened at $14.38 with the buyout news. Shares were trading at $25.20 just nine months ago. The high water mark for the publisher was $68.20 in February of 2005.
Electronic Arts is reportedly asking for a sale price of $20 a share.
Vivendi reportedly was seeking a buyer for Activision/Blizzard earlier this summer but could not find any takers.
Like its rivals, 30-year-old EA has been challenged by the changes roiling the traditional gaming business. Sales of hardware consoles and software have slumped along with the rise in popularity of mobile and casual games that users can play for free online. Consumers are also buying fewer $60 games.
EA and other traditional gamemakers are trying to figure out how to distribute a single title across multiple platforms, including consoles, PCs and smartphones.