In news so unexpected I had to blink and re-read it twice, PopCap Games is apparently in the process of being acquired. That’s what we’re hearing. What we’re not hearing is how much this all costs, and – crucially – who’s splashing the cash.
Reports are floating around about the potential price tag: PopCap annual revenues are reportedly around $100-150 million, with multiple sources stating the company snagged a 10x multiple. That means the casual games company potentially sold for more than $1 billion – meaning the buyer is someone with fairly deep pockets.
Two obvious choices spring to mind, and we’re not sure which one gamers would be more happy with.
First off: Zynga. Over the past year, the FarmVille developer has snapped up a bunch of smaller game companies to add to its growing empire. Apparently, Zynga has indeed been sniffing around about a potential buy-out, but last reports had the company unhappy with the price PopCap was looking for.
The second obvious choice: EA. It’s a major company which has access to that sort of money, and a history of buying developers who work well in markets it’s hoping to break into. We all know that EA has its sights set on the mobile/casual market, look at Playfish, which it bought two years ago for $400 million, and the recent acquisition of Firemint. Whether or not EA would spend that much cash on just one company though remains to be seen.
There is also a third, darker horse in this race however. It comes from Asia, and could be one of a number of companies from that region trying to break into the lucrative western gaming market. Tencent is just one name being bandied about by [surl=http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/22/popcap-games-to-be-acquired-for-1-billion/]TechCrunch[/surl].
One thing’s for certain though – acquiring major video game companies isn’t like a silent auction – the buyer’s identity will be revealed sooner or later – so it’s a matter of wait and see.
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