Update: We’ve heard from multiple sources that the buyer is Electronic Arts.
Huge news in the gaming world: PopCap Games, the company behind such hits as Plants vs Zombies and Bejeweled, is in the process of being acquired — and we’re hearing from multiple sources that the price is over $1 billion.
The question now is who the buyer is. The obvious possibility is Zynga, which has made a string of game-related acquisitions over the last year. But we’re hearing they’re out. Our sources say that Zynga did indeed kick the tires hard on a potential acquisition, but it looks like the company couldn’t get comfortable with the price PopCap was asking for.
Popcap’s revenues are in the range of $100-150 million, we hear — and a price of over $1 billion would have put the deal at a possible 10x multiple, which may have been too rich for Zynga’s blood. So who else could it be?
We’ve heard that it might be videogaming powerhouse Electronic Arts, though the acquisition would be a very large one for the company (EA’s market cap is $7.49 billion). That said, it wouldn’t be EA’s first big bet on a hot gaming startup: they acquired Playfish in 2009 for up to $400 million after earnouts.
Another possibility would be a company in Asia that’s looking to break into the stateside gaming market, similar to the idea behind DeNA’s $300 million+ acquisition of ngmoco last October. One candidate is massive Chinese company Tencent, which has a massive market cap (and some games of their own). But there are other possibilities that would fit that profile as well — we’ll keep digging.
PopCap was previously rumored to be exploring a possible IPO later this year. The company raised $22.5 million in October 2009.