EA Acquires BioWare and Pandemic Studios
Video game publisher
Electronic Arts announced yesterday that it would acquire two software
studios from Elevation Partners in a deal worth $860 million. This is the
largest acquisition in the history of EA. The two game studios are BioWare
Corporation and Pandemic Studios and are known for their action, adventure
and role-playing games which include Star Wars Battlefront I/II, Mercenaries, Clone Wars, Dark Reign 2, Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate I/II, and MDK 2.
Electronic Arts is known for sports games like Madden NFL and also popular titles like the SIMS, but it's share of the action and role playing market has hovered at under 10 percent. As part of the acquisition, EA will pay stockholders up to $620 million in cash and issue as much as $155 million in equity to some of the company’s employees. According to the Associated Press report, the shares will be subject to certain time- and performance-restricted vesting criteria.
EA, based in Redwood City, will take on some $50 million in unexercised stock options from the parent company of the two game studios (VG) and has agreed to lend VG up to $35 million until the deal closes.
Formerly, EA had acquired mobile game publisher Jamdat Mobile in 2006 for $680 million. BioWare and Pandemic have a total of 10 games under development including Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Sonic DS, Saboteur, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and some other undesignated titles. The two studios employ about 800 people in California, Texas, Canada and Australia.
What concerns me is the two sequels to ME. I don't care if they are Xbox-360 exclusives or not. I just don't want the developer to cut cornersnto get the games out the door like Obsidian had to with Star Wars KOTOR II.