EA Plays SimTakeover

Electronic Arts intends to buy SimCity publisher Maxis for $125 million.

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Electronic Arts entered into an agreement with SimCity developer Maxis to acquire that company for approximately US$125 million in stock. The merger, announced Wednesday, is slated to be completed by the end of August.

The merger pairs up two companies with high recognition: EA has recently been listed as one of the top five game companies, with overall revenue for the year at $624.8 million. A number of investment institutions consider Electronic Arts a strong buy, but gamers tend to look more at titles like FIFA Soccer 97, Need for Speed, and Privateer 2 as solid examples of success. Already under the EA umbrella are companies like Bullfrog (creators of Theme Hospital), Origin (creators of the Ultima series), and Jane's Combat Simulations, which did simulations like ATF Gold and USNF '97. None of these companies create the kind of simulations for which Maxis is known.

Maxis, which isn't as financially strong as EA (Maxis experienced a $1.7 million net loss last year), basically has one very successful product line. The creator of mega-hit game SimCity put out a number of simulations last year that garnered good (but not great) responses from most gamers. SimGolf has already been discounted to $20, and Maxis encountered a small setback when it was forced to recall all copies of SimCopter after it had shipped. It was discovered that a programmer had placed some unauthorized Easter eggs in the game - specifically, scantily clad men playing in the surf and kissing. Currently, Maxis plans to release Streets of SimCity this summer and is developing SimCity 3000 for a holiday release.

Yesterday, GameSpot News posted interviews with Maxis CEO Sam Poole and EA president and CEO Larry Probst. The link at the right will take you to that story.

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