Multiple news outlets are reporting that, according to sources close to the deal, EA has just acquired iPhone publishing powerhouse Chillingo for $20 million in cash. Reuters has confirmed with an EA spokesperson that an agreement has been reached between the two companies, but would not disclose the price.
“By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple Platform as well as reaffirming its position as the world’s leading wireless entertainment publisher,” EA’s Holly Rockwood said in a statement.
UPDATE: Gamezebo has received a statement from EA Interactive’s PR Director Holly Rockwood. In it she again confirms the purchase without confirming a price, echoes the sentiments earlier provided to Reuters, and confirms that “EA remains committed to preserving Chillingo’s independence and letting them continue to manage and cultivate their great network of relationships with independent developers… This acquisition will combine Chillingo’s expertise in cultivating the ideas of independent developers with EA’s global mobile publishing reach.”
Initial reports stemming from the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blog suggested that Chillingo’s value was estimated to be anywhere from $80 million to $200 million. If true, it’s surprising to hear that they would have settled for a price so far below their worth – especially in light of the fact that DeNA just paid $400 million for Chillingo competitor ngmoco. $20 million is peanuts compared to that. It’s also peanuts compared to the $300 million EA paid for Facebook game publisher Playfish.
Still – at this time, $20 million is just a rumor. If anything it seems like a rumor that’s suffered from a possible typo. I’d absolutely expect to see an extra zero attached to the end of that number when it comes to final sale price.
2010 has been an incredible year for mobile gaming publishers, but it also seems to be the year where bigger companies are willing to spend every penny needed to swoop them up. Tapulous was bought up by Disney. DeNA has been snapping up companies left and right. Even Intel may be getting in on the action.
With Chillingo and ngmoco both of the running, who do you think will be the next mobile games company to be snatched up by the big boys?