PopCap Being Sold To EA For $Lots Bn?

By Brendan Caldwell on June 23rd, 2011 at 10:30 am.


The unblinking eye of Internet-news following that is Techcrunch has reported that Electronic Arts might just currently be in the middle of a deal to be acquire PopCap for the paltry sum of $1 billion. Given that EA aren’t as involved in the business of squeezing out casual or mobile games as they are in the home console and PC market, it seems like a logical move for them. But $1 billion is a sizeable chunk of EA’s total market value of $1 squillion kajillion (conventional mathematics puts this figure at $7.49 billion, so EA would be offering 13% of that. Yikes).

You might be terrified of EA’s influence on one of the most creative and fun studios in the casual market but this was good news for me, because it gave me the chance to question PopCap via the PR with the best name in the world, Ember Wardrop. “Per company policy, we do not comment on rumors and speculation of this nature,” she said. Oh, boo.

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61 Comments »

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  1. Kdansky says:

    If Popcap was my company and EA wanted to buy it for a billion, I’d sell it and start a new one. Set for life, AND you can make the games you want to.

    • imirk says:

      Non-compete clauses don’t stand up in court very well, especially ones that would really stop you from making a new company, it would however stop you from selling your company and hiring away all your old emplyees and calling the new company pap cap

    • sinister agent says:

      non-compete clause? This is EA we’re talking about. You’d be getting off lightly if the small print only took one of your children.

  2. poop says:

    nooooooooo

  3. Binman88 says:

    Oh man. Jeff Green (game journalist) now works for PopCap, but used to work for EA and has bad mouthed them quite a bit about his time there. Wonder how he feels about this (although obviously it wouldn’t be quite the same as working directly for EA).

    • MrMud says:

      I was just about to post this very thing. Poor Black Dragon.

    • 12kill4 says:

      Papa Jeff will be alright. Those side-burns of steel have weathered bigger storms than this.

    • d32 says:

      Heh, the same thing happened to my (ex-)college. Hated it, switched the job, got bought back. Constant source of mocking.
      Except he got a big pay-rise from the job-hop.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Monchberter says:

    Popcap should do a KLF with the money. (replace million with billion)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K_Foundation_Burn_a_Million_Quid

  5. Jumwa says:

    I was gonna try to make some optimistic post about possibilities from this that weren’t so bad, but who really ever likes it when a game company they enjoy gets bought out by a bigger company, seriously? In the world of PC gaming I can’t think of any examples where I was pleased with the results.

    You can’t even use the usual argument that an acquisition would allow them the financial backing to make bigger and better games, because PopCap’s style has never been to make large games, we love them for their fun little games!

    • Bhazor says:

      Yes I can’t believe a company that makes a living from pumping out sequels is buying a company that makes a living from pumping out sequels.

      This is clearly terrible.

    • Jumwa says:

      How incisive.

      I think you just found a way to cut the writer budget and copy paste that statement to every news story whenever any gaming company is ever bought out by any other gaming company in existence.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Popcap did create plant vs zombies you know.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I actually feel PopCap don’t go too far with sequels. A lot of companies would be releasing Plants Vs Zombies 4 by now.

  6. Premium User Badge

    amishmonster says:

    Ember Wardrop will also be representing Torchlight 2.

  7. Ondrej says:

    Ember Wardrop *IS* the best real name I have ever seen.

  8. Drake Sigar says:

    Oh well, we had a good run.

  9. metalangel says:

    Dragon Age: Pub Games, anyone?

  10. Bhazor says:

    Anyone else sense the hand of Origin in this? Certainly making the best selling casual game developer exclusive to your platform is a pretty good get.

    • Richie Shoemaker says:

      Oof. Good point.

    • Jumwa says:

      Good call, you’ve likely figured it out there.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Oh. Wow. I didn’t even think about this one.

    • Premium User Badge

      shoptroll says:

      Yikes. That would be…. wow :(

    • John P says:

      Yep, this was the first thing that crossed my mind. PopCap’s games really helped Steam get a wider userbase. If EA pulls PopCap off Steam (for future releases presumably) and makes their games Origin exclusive, it might aid their plans for global domination profit.

    • Veracity says:

      Indeed, and I’d been meaning to get Popcap complete on Steam whenever it’s next absurdly cheap. So much for that.

    • Vinraith says:

      PopCap’s own DRM has actually always been pretty horrible (5 activation limits all around), Origin might be an improvement actually.

      As to PopCap complete on Steam, it was never remotely “complete.”

    • Ajh says:

      I didn’t care too much about this idea of popcap being sold until you said that. That is something to think about..wow.

  11. Freud says:

    Should Bobby Kotick be insulted that he wasn’t the first one to get that tag?

  12. CMaster says:

    How much of that $1billion is cash, though. Because if a lot of it is in EA shares, well, I’m not sure I’d trust the value of those shares. (and its not like with that many of them you can unload them quickly either).

    • Bhazor says:

      At a guess I’d say a lot of it is in X year contacts and salaries. Certainly no point buying a company if everyone involved quits the next day.

  13. Vexing Vision says:

    On my Twitter account (yes, I know), I wrote a Haiku.

    Do you hear the call?
    The cry of plants and zombies!
    It is a Cash-Cow.

    I felt the need to share this. Also, I feel sorry for @greenspeak, who is an awesome person who apparently really enjoyed his stay in Dublin.

    And I LIKED PopCap despite their games not really being my thing. They added high-quality bubbly colours to a world of grey-faced man-shoots.

  14. Ginger Yellow says:

    Given that EA aren’t as involved in the business of squeezing out casual or mobile games as they are in the home console and PC market, it seems like a logical move for them.

    They actually do put out a ton of iOS games. They’ve got the licence to pretty much every mainstream boardgame and churn out lazy $5 ports of them that seem to dominate the board/strategy charts on iTunes. They must make a fair bit of cash from that.

  15. StingingVelvet says:

    That would be one hell of an exclusive line for Origin, that’s for sure.

  16. JohnnyMaverik says:

    O.o

    Bah, soul sellers. -_-

  17. Atic Atac says:

    This article is a bit wrong. EA are a major player in the iOS market. They have games like Sims, BC2, NFS, Tetris, various boardgames etc on there and are usually high in the charts.

    Popcap is a quality casual gaming company regardless of platform.

  18. Moni says:

    I’ve read that Popcap is worth $100 million a year, so $1 billion is a decent enough deal.

  19. Wulf says:

    Noooooo… D:

  20. devtesla says:

    Dude, this is a story from Techcrunch. Chances are it’s not true.

  21. SaVi says:

    EA kind of “works” for me, making things like Mass Effect, Crysis or that Star Wars MMO. But I don’t know if I want that. Popcap is fine the way right now, it feels unnessary and brings in risks. Because for the few success storys from EA, there are a lot bad ones.