As everyone tries to make sense of Tomb Raider’s sale to Embracer there’s increased speculation that Sony is planning to buy Square Enix.
The last few years have seen an endless procession of acquisitions and consolidations within the games industry, not just from Microsoft and its multi-billion deals but also Sony and other companies. Sony has publicly admitted it’s looking for more and rumours suggest they’re on the cusp of announcing the ‘big one’… which might just be Square Enix.
Square Enix has already been in the news this week for their peculiar decision to sell Tomb Raider, two major developers, and a host of other franchises to Embracer Group for a paltry $300 million. Nothing about the deal seems to make much sense but already rumours have emerged that Square Enix is preparing itself for an acquisition and that the most likely buyer is Sony.
Proven insider Jeff Grubb has stated that he believes the Embracer deal could be an attempt by Square Enix to make itself more ‘streamlined’ and ready for an acquisition, but he claims not to know whether Sony is the most likely buyer.
Although almost everything else in the video game world leaks out months before it happens that’s almost never true for acquisitions, since that has insider trading implications that are highly illegal.
Grubb admits that Sony buying Square Enix is the ‘big rumour’ but doesn’t claim to have any insider knowledge on whether it’s really happening. Even if he, or anyone else, did though they’d be wise not to say anything, which means if it does happen it’ll still be a surprise.
On the face of it though the streamlining concept doesn’t make much sense, since $300 million is a drop in the ocean compared to the roughly $4 billion it would cost to buy Square Enix.
If Square Enix had kept Crystal Dynamics and Eidos-Montréal then Sony would’ve had control of the Tomb Raider franchise and its developer, which would surely have been seen as a benefit giving Lara Croft was the de facto PlayStation mascot during the early days of the first console.
That’s looking at things logically though, which may not be the best approach given nothing about the sale to Embracer Group seems to make much sense at the moment.
If Sony does end up buying Square Enix it wouldn’t be much of a shock, but equally it’s easy to imagine that Microsoft might do their best to outbid them, since they still lack any major Japanese studios.
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