The Escapist reveals the juicy details of the Electronic Arts-BioWare/Pandemic deal:
The acquisition of BioWare/Pandemic studios by the nefarious Electronic Arts (EA) has been much discussed by analysts and industry observers, bloggers and forum posters. What has not been discussed is how this deal came to pass, who benefits and why EA dumped more than three-quarters of a billion dollars on a premier developer. This deal's story pretty much begins and ends with John Riccitiello and a three-and-a-half year game of executive musical chairs.
1997-2004: Riccitiello was President and Chief Operating Officer of EA.
2004: Riccitiello suddenly left EA to co-found the private equity firm Elevation Partners. At the time, the succession plan for EA CEO was already in work, and Riccitiello was in running to succeed Larry Probst as the next EA CEO.
November 2005: Elevation Partners invested US$300 million to merge BioWare and Pandemic Studios under a new managing company, VG Holdings. Riccitiello became the CEO of VG Holdings.
February 2007: Riccitiello rejoined EA as the new CEO. He relinquished his roles as Managing Director of Elevation Partners and CEO of VG Holdings. Greg Richardson (a former EA general manager) became the new CEO of VG Holdings.
October 2007: EA acquired BioWare and Pandemic Studios from Elevation Partners - at a record US$860 million including US$620 million in cash. EA disclosed that Riccitiello stood to individually make $4.9 million on the deal. Riccitiello abstained from the EA board's vote on the buyout, though he highly endorsed it.
The Escapist offers more exposé and insight into what the story calls an "incestuous" deal.