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EA eyes all of Battlefield studio Digital Illusions

Publisher looks to acquire outstanding shares of Swedish developer; DICE directors give thumbs up to deal.


Electronic Arts is priming itself to purchase all remaining shares of developer Digital Illusions CE it doesn't currently own. DICE has welcomed the offer, with its entire board of directors recommending shareholders accept the deal.

EA currently owns 19 percent of DICE's outstanding shares and looks to integrate the developer into its empire after the acquisition is complete.

"Making DICE a full partner with EA will strengthen DICE's ability to navigate the transition to the next generation of technology," said DICE's chairman of the board Torsten Larsson.

The offer is scheduled to close on December 27. Digital Illusions past work includes Rallisport Challenge and the EA-published Battlefield franchise. Its next project is the upcoming Battlefield 2, which is set for release in spring of 2005 for the PC.

Industry analyst Boris Markovich of TerraNova Institutional, in a memo to investors, gave his blessing to the offer. "[Digitial Illusions] has a history of producing high-quality product, and [it] will be a good fit within EA. We believe that EA will continue to use its strong cash position to strategically purchase developers [that] fit into its portfolio to bolster growth and shareholder returns," he wrote.

The Street was similarly impressed. On the news yesterday, EA shares closed up $1.69 to $49.28. This morning, EA shares were also trading higher.

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