Much is happening for PopCap this week, with the launch of new game Vacation Quest and an online Plants v. Zombies store. All in the midst of buyout rumors of its parent company, Electronic Arts, reported by that little scamp of New York journalism, the New York Post.
Let’s start with the EA thing: Yesterday, it was reported that EA is “quietly exploring” a sale to private-equity firms KKR and Providence Equity Partners. The talks are reportedly in an early stage, but EA has been buying back shares, its stock closing up more than five percent this week. A source close to the deal says that EA will sell when its stock reaches $20 per share, according to the Post. The company is currently trading at $13.77, with a market value of $4.3 billion.
Apparently, EA, along with other gaming companies, are getting burned by changes in gaming, especially the rise of mobile and tablet games that folks can play online for free.
Speaking of that, PopCap, an EA division since it was acquired in 2011 for up to $1.3 billion, just launched a new game, Vacation Quest — The Hawaiian Islands for the Kindle Fire for a 30-day exclusive with Amazon. PopCap adapted the popular PC game especially for the Fire, and it’s free at the Amazon App store for Android. Users can upgrade, too, with an in-app purchase of $4.99 that unlocks dozens of additional levels of play. In it, players get a passport and can search up to 10 different tropical locales for adventures, clues to secure objects and more. Interestingly, Amazon is making its own push into social games with a brand new studio in Seattle. Could it possibly become an EA bidder?
Earlier this week, PopCap also unveiled it Plants vs. Zombies online store, so fans of the game can deck themselves out in hats, hoodies, T-shirts, and grab creepy-cute looking toys and more gear.
So while PopCap continues to release mobile games, would parent company EA benefit from a sale?