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.