EA acquires Angry Birds publisher

Publisher augments its mobile gaming arm by picking up iOS specialist Chillingo; Reuters puts purchase price at $20 million.

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Casual game companies have been the target of a number of high-profile acquisitions in the last year. Shortly after laying off 1,500 employees last year, EA announced that it had purchased Pet Society developer Playfish in a deal worth up to $400 million. In July, Disney pounced on Playdom for a figure that could exceed $700 million, and more recently, Japanese social gaming company DeNA bought out Ngmoco for $400 million.

EA is officially roosting with Chillingo.

Now, one more big-name casual game company has come and gone on the auction block, as EA confirmed for GameSpot today that it has purchased British publisher Chillingo. Though terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, a source told Reuters that EA paid $20 million for the company. EA declined to comment on Chillingo's purchase 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," an EA spokesperson told GameSpot. "EA remains committed to preserving Chillingo's independence and letting them continue to manage and cultivate their great network of relationships with independent developers."

Chillingo is perhaps best known as the publisher of Finnish studio Rovio's Angry Birds, which has sold more than 6.5 million units on the App Store since its December 2009 launch. The publisher has also found substantial success with ZeptoLab's Cut the Rope. Last week, Chillingo announced that Cut the Rope had sold more than 1 million units on the App Store in less than 10 days, a record for the mobile service.

Chillingo also produces the Crystal software development kit, which helps indie studios capitalize on the free-to-play, microtransaction-based business model. The Crystal SDK currently supports iOS platforms, as well as Adobe Flash.

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