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PopCap Games Courted For $1 Billion

What's a casual online game worth? How about $1 billion? Actually, PopCap Games -- the company behind "casual" hits like Plants vs Zombies and Bejeweled -- is reportedly be courted for over $1 billion.

"We've heard from multiple sources that the buyer is Electronic Arts," reports TechCrunch. Prior to that revelation, TechCrunch suggested the suitor might be Zynga, which, it noted, "has made a string of game-related acquisitions over the last year." "If true, that would sidetrack [PopCap's] plans for an initial public offering later this year," writes The Seattle Times.

TechCrunch suggests EA is trying to get out of the "hardcore" gaming and appeal to casual and/or mobile users. "PopCap could definitely help with such a goal," PCWorld points out. "PopCap also produces a number of free PC games, including Insaniquarium, Zuma, and Bookworm Adventures."

EA or not, "Whoever ends up with the prize would get a developer that reportedly rakes in about $100 million - $150 million per year," Computerworld writes, adding, "PopCap is also one of the few developers to truly master the divide between iOS and other platforms." Indeed, "It's a phenomenally successful company," The Seattle Times says of PopCap. What's more, while EA's market cap is only $7.49 billion, it wouldn't be the company's first big bet on a hot gaming start-up. At TechCrunch notes, it acquired Playfish in 2009 for up to $400 million after earn-outs.

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