It seemed almost inevitable that two of the most talented groups of developers would get bought out. And who better to buy them out but the largest game maker in the world? Yes, indeed. Electronic Arts has picked up both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios, making both studios wholly owned development houses.
As you should be well aware of by now, BioWare is behind the upcoming Mass Effect for the Xbox 360, and Pandemic is currently wrapping up work on Mercenaries 2, and Saboteur. Both developers are working on a number of unannounced titles, all of which should be published by EA.
In total, EA has acquired four studio houses that employ 800 people. “These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I’m glad to be working with them again. They’ll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties,” said John Riccitiello, EA’s Chief Executive Officer. “We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders.”
“Pandemic Studios remains focused on attracting the best talent and creating blockbuster action games,” said Josh Resnick, President and Co-founder of Pandemic Studios. “As a worldwide publishing leader, EA represents the ideal partner to bring our titles to market as global entertainment events.”
“We are truly excited by John Riccitiello’s new vision for EA,” said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. “This vision is consistent with BioWare’s focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin.”
Elevation Partners, the former owner of VG Holding Corp (which housed both BioWare and Pandemic) will be seeing $620 million paid in cash to its shareholders, with an additional $155 million in equity to a number of VG Holding Corp employees. They will acquire outstanding VG Holding stock options, and lend them $35 million through the closing of the acquisition. This makes the the purchase worth roughly $810 million for EA.