Rumor: PopCap being acquired for $1 billion

By Xav de Matos, Jun 22, 2011 5:15pm PDT

Techcrunch reports that PopCap is in the process of be acquired and, according to "multiple sources," that the casual hit-maker could sell for over $1 billion.

Though no buyer has been named, a number of possibilities are on the table. As expected, the immediate favorite is Zynga, makers of the Facebook hit Farmville; however, that may not be where PopCap lands. According to Techcrunch, Zynga was interested in PopCap but "couldn't get comfortable" with the price PopCap was asking.

Another possibility named in the article is video game publishing giant Electronic Arts. Over the last few years, EA has brought casual dev PlayFish under its corporate umbrella to the tune of around $400 million (with buyouts) in 2009. More recently, the company purchased mobile publisher Chillingo for $20 million. Though, at a $1 billion price tag, PopCap may be out of the publisher's reach.

Techcrunch also names Asian-based companies DeNA, that purchased developer ngmoco last October for over $300 million, and Tencent, who has a "massive market cap" as possibilities.

One wildcard that is not mentioned in the article is Microsoft. Acquiring PopCap would give Microsoft control over PopCap's popular brands, adding lucrative exclusives to its Windows Phone 7 market, Games For Windows Live platform, and the Xbox 360 console. Microsoft is not shy on pulling the trigger on large acquistions, as evidenced by the company's recent $8.5 billion purchase of Skype.

The report should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as Internet chatter points to a PopCap takeover as being false. PopCap has stated that it does not comment on rumors of this nature.

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