On Tuesday, Electronic Arts officially announced that it was acquiring the successful casual game developer and publisher PopCap Games. The asking price for the Seattle-based company will be at least $750 million with possibly more if PopCap reaches certain unannounced revenue targets. But today it was revealed that Microsoft had at least two shots at acquiring PopCap, most likely at a smaller price than what EA paid for this week.
The Wall Street Journal reports that way back in 1999, PopCap offered to sell off the rights to its Bejeweled puzzle game for a mere $35,000. Microsoft declined the offer but instead licensed the game from PopCap for $1,500. In the end PopCap kept the rights to one of the most popular of its game series. The company said a number of months ago that it has generated sales of over 50 million copies between the many different versions of the highly addictive puzzle game series.
The story also reveals that in 2002 Microsoft came back to PopCap for a full acquisition offer to the tune of just $5 million. At the time PopCap said it had about $4 million in the bank. The second Microsoft deal also didn't happen. After that deal fell apart, the privately owned company continued to release highly popular puzzle and casual games such as Zuma, Peggle and of course Plants Vs Zombies. In 2009 it raised $22.5 million in venture capital fund and was planning to launch an IPO sometime later this year before Tuesday's acquisition deal with EA.