Report: EA in "late stages" to acquire PopCap

On Wednesday, TechCrunch first reported via unnamed sources that casual game developer and publisher PopCap Games was getting close to being acquired for a whopping $1 billion by an unknown party. At the time, PopCap would not comment on the story. Now, TechCrunch has a follow up story that actually named Electronic Arts as the company interested in purchasing PopCap.

Once again using unnamed sources, TechCrunch claims that EA is in "late stage acquisition discussions" with PopCap. The article points out that if the story is true, it's a huge deal for EA as the amount of money involved is about 13 percent of the publicly traded company's current market cap. However, this would not be EA's first play into the casual game space. In 2009, EA purchased one of PopCap's rivals, Playfish, for $275 million. It also purchased the iPad and iPhone-based game publisher Chillingo for $20 million in 2010. Chillingo first published the massive hit game Angry Birds, but the EA deal did not include the rights to that game.

PopCap Games, based in Seattle and first formed in 2000, is the developer and publisher of a number of very popular casual and puzzle games, including Bejeweled, Zuma, Peggle and the cross-over hit Plants Vs Zombies. The privately held company has previously announced plans to file for a public stock offering. The IPO could have go live as early as November. Obviously, if a deal with EA goes through, those IPO plans would be canceled.

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