Monolithic publisher EA has today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to purchase VG Holding Corp. -- a move which sees EA becoming the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. A shocking move to be certain, but one that should make complete sense to a publisher looking to strengthen its lineup of role-playing games and action titles. BioWare, currently finishing development on November's Microsoft-published Mass Effect, has proven itself to be one of the leading developers in the genre, and Pandemic Studios' Mercenaries franchise has shown an alarming propensity for blowing things up.

Closing January 2008, the purchase will cost EA up to $620 million in cash payment to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp., with another $155 million in equity going to "certain employees" of VG Holding Corp., "subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria." EA has also agreed to lend VG Holding Corp $35 million through the closing of the purchase. Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp, thinks it's all money well spent. "This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world," he says. "It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin."

EA will hold a conference call later today to discuss the acquisition. Oh, and here are all the exclamation marks we wanted to put in the headline: !!!!!!!!!!

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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