Electronic Arts Inc. has agreed to acquire PopCap Games Inc. in a deal that could be worth $1.3 billion, depending on the casual game company’s success.
EA CEO John Riccitiello and CFO Eric Brown joined PopCap CEO David Roberts in a conference call Tuesday to confirm the news, which was first reported in TechCrunch.
Riccitiello said the deal makes financial sense. “We are buying a high-margin, fast-growth, business that is expected to deliver $140 million in revenue in calendar 2011, Riccitiello said. “The deal structure and earn-out ensures that as PopCap expands its profitability dramatically, the majority of the value accrues to EA’s shareholders.”
As the Wall Street Journal calculated, EA will pay $650 million in cash and $100 million in EA shares for PopCap, plus additional amounts based on how well PopCap performs during the two years ending December 31, 2013. To receive the maximum $550 million, PopCap must reach at least $343 million in earnings before interest and taxes in that time period. During the call it was disclosed that PopCap has been growing at an annual rate of more than 30 percent over the past three years, surpassing $100 million of revenue in 2010. Details of the deal structure are in the joint press release.
“We picked EA because they have recast their culture around making great digital games,” said Roberts. “By working with EA, we’ll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience.”
Most casual game players are familiar with PopCap, which has been responsible for hits like Bookworm, Peggle, Bejeweled, Zuma and Plants vs. Zombies. And that includes a lot of people – eMarketer reported that 62 million U.S. Internet users will play at least one game on a social network on a monthly basis this year. These players are mass market as well, skewing slightly female and spanning all age groups.
PopCap said it has 150 million games installed and played worldwide on platforms such as Facebook, RenRen, Google, iPhone, iPad and Android.
EA is one of the biggest companies in the game industry, with several best-selling franchises like The Sims, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed, Battlefield, and Mass Effect.
Wall Street Journal post: http://tinyurl.com/66dglfs
TechCrunch June 22 post: http://tinyurl.com/64uya3b
Joint press release: http://tinyurl.com/6fzn6ne