Electronic Arts buys Angry Birds publisher Chillingo for $20m

Electronic Arts has bought Chillingo, the Macclesfield-based mobile games publisher behind smartphone smash hit Angry Birds.

US-based gaming giant EA announced today that it had acquired the company for an undisclosed sum, with reports placing the figure at around $20m.

Perhaps a little surprisingly given the outlay, the deal does not include the intellectual property rights to Angry Birds, which has sold 6.5m copies for iPhones and other mobiles.

Those rights will remain with Rovio, the Finnish company that created and developed the game, leading at least one analyst to query EA's thinking.

“I’m kind of wondering why they bought it,” Todd Mitchell, an analyst at Kaufman Bros, told Reuters. “In the light of EA not getting the Angry Birds IP, they’re buying the development platform to put their own IP on it in hopes of driving social networking and customers back to their own properties."

But EA is keen to increase its presence in the growing mobile gaming market, which will rise 19 percent to worth more than $5.6 billion this year according to research firm Gartner.

"By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple platform, as well as reaffirming its position as the world’s leading wireless entertainment publisher," an EA spokesperson said.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.