Shareholders of Codemasters, the UK developer and publisher behind the popular Formula 1 gaming software, are set for a $1.2 billion windfall after the company reached a deal to be acquired by Electronic Arts.

Codemasters had previously engaged in talks with Take-Two Interactive of Grand Theft Auto fame regarding a $994 million of the British game developer which is also known for its DIRT and GRID franchises.

But a bidding war between EA and Take-Two has led to the former submitting an offer that assigns a $1.2 billion valuation to Codemasters. The deal is expected to close sometime in the forst quarter of next year.

“Electronic Arts and Codemasters have a shared ambition to lead the video game racing category,” commented Gerhard Florin, Chairman of Codemasters.

“The Board of Codemasters firmly believes the company would benefit from EA’s knowledge, resources and extensive global scale – both overall and specifically within the racing sector.

“We feel this union would provide an exciting and prosperous future for Codemasters, allowing our teams to create, launch and service bigger and better games to an extremely passionate audience.”

    Read also: Norris says video games help make him a better driver

EA, whose most popular titles in its catalogue are sports-based, such as FIFA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and NASCAR, plans to driver a higher user engagement by combining its portfolio of racing games and sports games in its multiplatform subscription services.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, added: “We believe there is a deeply compelling opportunity in bringing together Codemasters and Electronic Arts to create amazing and innovative new racing games for fans.

“Our industry is growing, the racing category is growing, and together we will be positioned to lead in a new era of racing entertainment.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter