Rumors have been circling lately that someone was attempting to acquire "Plants vs. Zombies" developer PopCap Games. Given their recent obsession with the iOS market – just the other day, the company announced that their Origin service was coming to iOS devices – Electronic Arts always seemed like the likeliest buyer. Well, the publisher has just announced via press release that they have acquired PopCap for $750 million.
The purchase actually breaks down to about $650 million in cash, plus $100 million in EA stock. PopCaps' sellers could also earn bonuses based upon the developer's performance between the acquisition and December 2013. For instance, if PopCap has $343 million is earnings before interest and tax, their earn-out will be $550 million. In addition, PopCap employees will receive up to $50 million in "retention awards" over the next four years.
EA appears optimistic about their purchase, adjusting their fiscal year 2012 predictions due to the acquisition. The company has increased their high-end predicted results a full $25 million for the first quarter. Honestly, PopCap's amazing games pretty much print cash, so that's not too surprising.
"EA and PopCap are a compelling combination. PopCap’s great studio talent and powerful IP add to EA’s momentum and accelerate our drive towards a $1 billion digital business," said EA's John Riccitiello via the press release. "EA’s global studio and publishing network will help PopCap rapidly expand their business to more digital devices, more countries, and more channels."
Basically, PopCap will have a lot more backing to keep releasing great games; that's the good news. On the potentially negative side – I say potentially, because hopefully it's not the case – PopCap will lose their independence, and could face increased scrutiny over their production decisions.
As we lamented the other day, one of the negative side-effects of EA pushing their Origin service to iOS is possibly losing a single, all-encompassing organizational platform (Game Center). How will this affect current and future PopCap titles? Well, they'll obviously utilize Origin, but if they'll ditch Game Center integration remains to be seen.