EA gets U.S. antitrust go-ahead to buy PopCap

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:33pm EDT

Visitors walk past the exhibition stand of Electronic Arts (EA) at the Gamescom 2010 fair in Cologne August 18, 2010. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Visitors walk past the exhibition stand of Electronic Arts (EA) at the Gamescom 2010 fair in Cologne August 18, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Videogame maker Electronic Arts has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy PopCap Games, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday.

EA struck the deal, whose value was estimated at up to $1.3 billion, to better compete with Zynga Inc, which is headed for an initial public offering. PopCap has such popular video games as "Bejeweled" and "Plants vs. Zombies."

The FTC put the deal on a list of approved transactions. It issues the list several times a week.

EA is investing more in online content as customers buy fewer games on discs to play on consoles. Videogame companies now offer users options to play free or low-priced games on mobile devices, PCs and Facebook.

EA expects the PopCap transaction to close in August, the company said earlier this month.

PopCap, which is based in Seattle, has been profitable for 10 years since its founding and generated $100 million in revenue in 2010. It makes easy-to-play games for platforms such as Facebook, RenRen, Google's Android and Apple's iPhone and iPad.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Liana Baker in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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