EA has announced a deal that will have them acquiring VG Holding Corp., the company that currently owns both Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. The deal is worth an estimated $775M, with $620M of that being in cold hard cash and another $155M in equity for certain VG Holding Corp executives I would guess.
BioWare is currently on track to complete Mass Effect, which is being published by Microsoft in November with an MMO of some sort on the horizon. Pandemic is currently hard at work on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and Saboteur.
The 2 studios currently have more than 800 employees worldwide with studios in 4 locales; Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles, California; Austin, Texas; and Brisbane, Australia. The new acquisitions will be under the EA label run by Frank Gibeau.
This is yet another stepping stone in EA’s work to solidify themselves as the #1 3rd party developer after being bumped aside by Activision for top honors in 2007.