REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced an agreement to acquire Criterion Software Group Ltd. from Canon Europe. With the acquisition, EA assumes Criterion's studio in Guildford, UK; two globally recognized intellectual properties, Burnout and Black; and the RenderWare middleware technology.
Under a previous agreement, Criterion's Burnout3 game is being published by EA and is scheduled for release on all major platforms in September. Criterion is also developing a highly-anticipated game known simply as Black. Both titles received strong critical support earlier this year at the recent E3 game exhibition in Los Angeles.
"This is a great fit," said EA Chairman and CEO Larry Probst. "Criterion offers us studio talent and a proven management team, globally recognized intellectual property and technology infrastructure that will accelerate our readiness on the next generation of consoles."
EA places a strategic priority on creating games with a set of tools and libraries that are shared among its studios. RenderWare and RenderWare4 - currently under development for next generation consoles - will be combined with EA's technology to create a common framework for development. EA also plans to continue licensing the middleware technology to other developers.
"Combining EA's tools and technology libraries with the existing RenderWare technologies will create a superior platform for game development," said Criterion CEO David Lau-Kee. "This system will provide the most powerful common technological framework for creating great games. Our work on RenderWare4, combined with EA's next generation efforts, will also boost development efforts on the next generation of consoles which are expected to debut over the next two years."
"Our mission has always been to create exciting new franchises that appeal to the widest possible audience," said Fiona Sperry, Head of Criterion Games. "Within EA, we can now secure our future as one of the world's leading development studios."
Criterion will be managed from EA's UK Studio in nearby Chertsey, Surrey; the RenderWare business will remain in the UK at a separate location. RenderWare will be managed apart from EA's local studios.
The acquisition is expected to close in 30-45 days, subject to regulatory clearances.About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, EA posted revenues of $2.96 billion for fiscal 2004. The company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers and the Internet. In 2003, EA had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. Electronic Arts markets its products under three brand names: EA SPORTS(TM), EA GAMES(TM) and EA SPORTS BIG(TM). EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com.
More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com. About Criterion Software
Criterion Software develops hit video games including Burnout and Black, and is the world's leading games middleware provider with over 500 titles to its credit. Founded in 1993, Criterion employs over 200 people in its RenderWare and game development divisions, and has offices in Austin, Guildford, Derby, Paris and Tokyo. More information about Criterion can be found at http://www.csl.com.
Criterion Software and RenderWare are trademarks or registered trademarks of Canon Inc. Burnout and Black are trademarks or registered trademarks of Criterion Software Ltd.
About Canon Europe
Canon Europe is a subsidiary of Canon Inc. of Japan, a world-leading innovator and provider of imaging and information technology solutions for individuals and businesses. The main business focus for Canon Europe is in two clearly defined markets: Business Solutions (developing IT products, solutions and services for the office and professional print environments) and Consumer Imaging (photo, video, Bubble Jet printers, scanners, fax machines and multifunction devices). Canon Europe also provides Industrial Products including broadcast lenses, semiconductor and medical equipment. Canon Europe employs in the region of 11,000 people across 19 countries. Further information about Canon Europe is available at: www.canon-europe.com