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EA Buys PopCap

by Adam Biessener on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:50 AM

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Publishing giant Electronic Arts has reached an agreement to purchase the Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies developer for approximately $650 million in cash, plus $100 million more in stock. That's a lot of $3 App Store purchases.

The deal could end up costing EA significantly more than that already steep $750 million price tag (which falls short of the $1 billion deal rumored last month), as it includes bonuses for contributions to EA's bottom line through calendar 2013. Unless I'm reading the press release wrong, the additional bonuses could top out over $550 million.

Still not convinced that casual, mobile, and browser games are a big deal? Depending on how the additional compensation works out, the PopCap purchase could end up costing more than EA paid for BioWare and Pandemic in 2007. That deal was worth $860 million.

"We picked EA because they have recast their culture around making great digital games,” PopCap CEO David Roberts said in a press release. “By working with EA, we'll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience."

EA isn't messing around with this digital distribution stuff. The company has made huge investments in the arena, and now has to be considered the premier player in the space.

The purchase is subject to all the usual legal wrangling, and is expected to be finalized in August.