Following up on our story earlier this evening that PopCap Games is in late stage acquisition discussions for a sum of over $1 billion — we’ve now heard from two sources that the buyer is Electronic Arts.
The high price of the deal ($1+ billion) means that this would be a huge bet for EA — we’re talking over 13% of the company’s market cap. But we’re hearing that this is a Hail Mary pass from EA to break into mobile and social gaming — areas where the company hasn’t done nearly as well as it has in the console arena.
Possible logic behind the deal: Electronic Arts has some successful franchises that cater to casual users (including The Sims), but many of its successful properties appeal to the hardcore crowd. This is problematic on mobile, where iOS’s top grossing apps are dominated by Angry Birds, Zynga, Pocket Gems, and other casual games. PopCap could help with that — their arsenal of games includes Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies, each of which is a powerhouse in mobile and casual gaming.
We’ll continue to provide updates to the story as we hear more.