EA offers $1 billion for casual publisher Popcap?

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Electronic Arts is reportedly looking to gobble up casual games leader Popcap.

Tech Crunch reports it has heard from two unnamed sources that the deal is imminent and could be one of the biggest in EA's history.

Popcap has been around for several years but mostly existed in the background until it launched Plants vs. Zombies a couple years ago. The cutesy-gory zombie-shooting game became a cult hit and put Popcap on the map.

The company also owns the publishing rights to the always popular Bejeweled video game franchise.

Even so, $1 billion would be a pretty generous offer. That's a 13% increase over what Popcap's current market cap is.

Even so, the deal would seem to make sense, as EA has been growing its portfolio in the casual gaming market. The company has one of the strongest presences among large publishers on Facebook and the iPhone. Last year it notably purchased the publisher of Angry Birds, Chillingo.

EA also owns the casual online site Pogo.com and has an entire brand devoted to casual games called EA Play.

Following the story, Popcap community representative Jennifer Kyle posted the tweet, "Sorry, I might not have been clear. I was simply stating that @TechCrunch's article is not true," assumedly in response to an unknown earlier comment from Kyle. That tweet has since been deleted.