Rumor: Mystery suitor paying $1 billion for PopCap Games

By on June 23, 2011, 4:25 AM

Casual games firm PopCap, responsible for hit titles such as Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle and Bejeweled, is said to be on the verge of being acquired for over $1 billion. It's unclear who the buyer could be. Having discounted Zynga, who reportedly decided the price was too high, potential buyers could include EA Games or an Asian games firm.

The former has been making moves to establish itself in the casual games market. In 2009, EA acquired social gaming studio Playfish for what could have ended up being $400 million, including earn outs, while more recently the company purchased mobile publisher Chillingo for $20 million. The rumored selling price would represent over 13% of EA's market cap, however, which means PopCap may be out of the publisher's reach.

Reports also mention Japan's DeNA and China's Tencent as possible suitors, while Shacknews notes that Microsoft would benefit from adding lucrative exclusives to its Windows Phone 7 market, Games For Windows Live platform, and the Xbox 360 console. An acquisition may well be on the cards, but everything remains a guessing game for now.

Founded in Seattle in 2000, PopCap Games has won more than two dozen industry awards throughout the years, and has been credited with establishing the modern casual games business with "Bejeweled" -- which has sold more than 50 million units across multiple platforms. PopCap sales grew beyond $100 million for the first time this year and the company had openly stated its intent on filing for initial public offering (IPO) by the end of this year.

User Comments: 12

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Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

For some reason I tend to think that an acquisition from EA would really suck, but Microsoft would be very interesting for the Windows mobile and Xbox implications, per the story above.

foreverzero89 said:

they are getting bought out, which means they are going to start making crappy games and only care about making money.

example1013 said:

All I'd worry about with a microsoft application is the loss of cross-platform titles. Bejeweled, PvZ, and the like have been released for literally every platform possible by now, and PopCap has, if memory served, always done cross-platform, even supporting Mac back when no one else wanted to. I'd rather not see that go away, because their games are really fun and fast, so the fact that they're available on every device makes it that much more awesome.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

+1 Julio

One of the things which crossed my mind when I read it was ...... 'could this mysterious suitor be MS?' I think it would make lots of sense if MS to buy PopCap, especially as they are now nearing to release Mango, coupled with some cool games for WP, I can see not much wrong with it.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Man, I hope EA doesn't buy these guys out. Their creativity will be squashed like a bug in order to put out crap for the almighty dollar.

MilwaukeeMike said:

TomSEA said:

Man, I hope EA doesn't buy these guys out. Their creativity will be squashed like a bug in order to put out crap for the almighty dollar.

I'm not suggesting you're wrong, but how does making crappy games make you more money?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm referring to the crappy Facebook type games, which EA clearly wants to get their fingers in as it's such a money maker.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yup they are crappy Tom, but somehow people like them and that is what counts, hell even my brother spend hours playing that useless pile of *#*#*# graphics called farm whatever.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Yup, Archean. And that's what I'm afraid of if EA buys PopCap. They'll use their talent to create FB games for people who don't even know what gaming is instead of the original, innovative games they've done before.

Guest said:

Please let it be Google!!!!

Guest said:

Its EA. Saw an article on USA TODAY tech.

supportme said:

Seeing that Google is lookin for Prod Managers for Gaming.. It could be Google itself..

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