EA Buys Bioware, Pandemic

16ele184.jpgElectronic Arts just announced that they have "acquired" both BioWare and Pandemic Studios. EA cut a deal with Elevation Partners to buy up VG Holding Corp, which owns both companies.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties," said John Riccitiello, EA's Chief Executive Officer. "We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

"Pandemic Studios remains focused on attracting the best talent and creating blockbuster action games," said Josh Resnick, President and Co-founder of Pandemic Studios. "As a worldwide publishing leader, EA represents the ideal partner to bring our titles to market as global entertainment events."

"We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA," said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. "This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin."

EA paid up to $US 620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding to get their hands on the companies, They also gave $US 155 million in equity to "certain employees of VG Holding" and is lending the company up to $US 35 million.

I suppose this news isn't exactly shocking since John Riccitello headed up Elevation Partners, along with Apple's Fred Anderson and Bono.

Sure Riccitiello likened VG Holdings to Pixar, saying that the company would have the ability to cut bigger deals with the likes of... EA, but I guess they made an offer too good to refuse.

EA To Acquire BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios

Leaders in RPG, Action and Adventure Genres; Ten Franchises in Development - Six Wholly Owned

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. — the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognised for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios have ten franchises under development, including six wholly owned games. BioWare Corp. is currently developing the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is redefining open-world games with its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flamesâ„¢ and Saboteurâ„¢, in addition to several unannounced projects.

Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties," said John Riccitiello, EA's Chief Executive Officer. "We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Pandemic Studios is led by Andrew Goldman, Josh Resnick and Greg Borrud. BioWare Corp. is jointly led by Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka. These teams will join the EAâ„¢ Games Label run by Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games.

"Pandemic Studios remains focused on attracting the best talent and creating blockbuster action games," said Josh Resnick, President and Co-founder of Pandemic Studios. "As a worldwide publishing leader, EA represents the ideal partner to bring our titles to market as global entertainment events."

"We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA," said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. "This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin."

EA will pay up to $620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will issue up to an additional $155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., which will be subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria. EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options. In addition, EA has agreed to lend VG Holding Corp. up to $35 million through the closing of the acquisition.

Transaction and Financial Information

* The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. * The transaction is expected to close in January 2008. * On a GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be dilutive to EA's fiscal 2008 results by approximately $0.30 to $0.40 due to non-recurring acquisition-related charges, stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets. This amount is a preliminary estimate based on currently-available information and is subject to change. * On a non-GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be dilutive to EA's fiscal 2008 fourth quarter results by approximately $0.05. This amount is a preliminary estimate based on currently-available information and is subject to change.


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