Electronic Arts to Acquire PopCap, Updates Guidance

In a bid to enter the world of online and mobile casual gaming, game software-publisher Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced it will acquire online social gaming company PopCap in a cash and stock deal potentially worth $1.3 billion.

Electronic Arts will offer approximately $650 million in cash and $100 million in stock for PopCap, and has agreed to pay an additional $550 million if the acquisition meets performance targets, the company said in a statement released Tuesday after the market closed.

The deal is expected to close in August of 2011, pending regulatory approval.

In a statement, the companies touted the benefits both would offer each other once integrated.

PopCap's great studio talent and powerful IP add to EA's momentum and accelerate our drive towards a $1 billion digital business, said EA CEO John Riccitiello, in a release. EA's global studio and publishing network will help PopCap rapidly expand their business to more digital devices, more countries, and more channels."

As a result of the acquisition, Electronic Arts adjusted its outlook; the company expects the takeover will have a neutral impact on fiscal 2012 results, since costs related to the transaction are one-time expenditures. EA expects the acquisition to positively impact its full-year 2013 adjusted earnings by 10 cents per share.

EA also announced preliminary results for the fiscal first quarter. The company lifted its first-quarter expectations on both the top and bottom line, now predicting an adjusted fiscal first-quarter loss between 40 and 37 cents a share on revenue in the range of $500 million to $525 million. Previously, the company had predicted a loss of 49 to 44 cents a share on adjusted revenue between $460 million to $500 million.

EA backed its earlier full-year 2012 view for adjusted earnings between 70 cents and 90 cents a share, but boosted its 2012 adjusted revenue forecast to a range of $3.8 billion and $4.03 billion. That compares to the companys previous 2012 revenue view for $3.7 to $3.9 billion.

For the fiscal second-quarter, EA predicts an adjusted loss between 5 cents and 15 cents, and expects to book a GAAP-loss in the range of $1.10 to 97 cents per diluted share.

Shares of Electronic Arts fell 22 cents, or nearly 1% in Tuesdays trading; the stock was down 77 cents, or more than 4%, on news of the acquisition.