PlayStation has $5 billion to spend on acquisitions – rules out Take-Two and GTA
Despite rumours and theories of Sony buying a major publisher to rival Activision, its actual spending figures suggest that’s not possible.
With Microsoft spending a whopping £50 billion to buy out Activision Blizzard, all eyes have been on Sony to see if it will respond in kind. While the PlayStation company is equally keen to purchase studios, its acquisitions so far have been much smaller scale.
The biggest acquisition in recent history was last year’s buyout of Bungie but not only will the Destiny studio retain its independence, it cost Sony £2.6 billion. That’s a lot of money but barely a drop in the ocean compared to Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard, or indeed the £5.9 billion they paid for Bethesda.
There have been popular rumours of Sony matching Microsoft’s purchase of Activision by buying Final Fantasy company Square Enix or Take-Two Interactive (which includes Grand Theft Auto studio Rockstar) but these rumours now seem much less likely following an update on Sony’s own investment funds.
In order for a company like Sony or Microsoft to buy out a studio or publisher, it’s not a simple matter of paying for how much their worth. They’d need to spend above and beyond that price.
Take-Two’s market cap is roughly $19 billion (about £15 billion) whereas Square Enix’s is about 768 billion yen (about £4.7 billion). Sony would need to spend far more than the £2.6 billion it paid for Bungie to get either of those two companies.
Recently, during the Morgan Stanley Technology Media and Entertainment conference (as transcribed by TwistedVoxel), Sony chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki stated that the company has more than $5 billion to spend on investments before 2024.
This translates to just under £4.2 billion and considering Sony likely has plans to invest in areas outside of gaming, it seems all the more unlikely that it’d drop more than five times that to outright buy a company as large as Take-Two or Square Enix, even taking into account potential overspending or putting themselves into debt.
So, what does this mean for Sony’s future acquisition strategy? In terms of gaming, it’ll probably continue to focus on buying out game developers rather than publishers, any of which should fit within their budget.
Sony will also likely continue signing exclusivity deals and partnerships. While Sony may not have enough to buy Square Enix outright, the two have maintained a strong working relationship for years, with Final Fantasy 7 Remake still a PlayStation console exclusive with no Xbox port in sight and Final Fantasy 16 to follow suit.
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