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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 22, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Report says $1 billion-plus offer for PopCap

TechCrunch is reporting that Seattle’s PopCap Games is in the process of being acquired for more than $1 billion.

If true, that would sidetrack the company’s plans for an initial public offering later this year. It’s a phenomenally successful company credited with establishing the modern casual games business with “Bejeweled.”

There are also perennial rumors that the company’s being acquired — so many that Chief Executive Dave Roberts jokes about it during interviews — and the report could be a trial balloon floated by interested parties or bankers trying drum up a deal.

Spokesman Garth Chouteau issued a brief statement:

“As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on these types of rumors and speculation,” he said.

TechCrunch’s report says it’s “hearing from multiple sources that the price is over $1 billion.”

PopCap sales grew beyond $100 million for the first time this year, putting it in position for an IPO, perhaps this fall.

In February, Roberts said the company still is open to being acquired if it was the right buyer and the right price. From a Q&A, I had with him:

Q: Sometimes when companies start talking about IPO it’s because they may be acquired. Could that happen?

A: Anything could happen. We’ve been talked about as an acquisition target a lot over the years. The goal is kind of the same. We’re trying to build a legacy of great enduring games. If that is better done with an IPO, we’ll do an IPO. If there’s an acquisition that makes sense for that — and the right partner was there at the right time — we might do that. But we don’t really change our business based on either one of those.

TechCrunch floated a few possible buyers. It said “we’ve heard that it might be videogaming powerhouse Electronic Arts” but I wonder if that’s the coporate parent PopCap founders would choose. The story also mentions Japan’s DeNA and China’s Tencent.

I wonder if it could be Activision Blizzard – which has $2.6 billion in cash – or perhaps even Google or Microsoft.

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