'Disney, EA, Dena and Gree fought for Omgpop'

'Disney, EA, Dena and Gree fought for Omgpop'

By Rob Crossley

April 17th 2012 at 12:06PM

Draw Something popularity escalated into bidding war, report claims

Five of the biggest companies in the social games sector each bid for Draw Something studio Omgpop, a new report suggests.

Zynga ultimately secured the studio at the cost of $180 million, but according to a new Bloomberg article that covers acquisition trends in the social space, the interest in Draw Something rapidly escalated into a bidding war.

“To buy OmgPop, Zynga fended off competing acquisition overtures from Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive, Gree and Dena,” the report claimed, citing an anonymous source said to be close to the matter.

The report also claims that Zynga tried to buy Angry Birds studio Rovio in a deal worth $2 billion.

In March Zynga spent $180 million as part of its rapid acquisition of Omgpop – a move that was “smoothed” through the help of Zynga’s so-called “fixer”, Guru Gowrappan.

Dan Porter, Omgpop’s CEO when Zynga came calling, said Gowrappan “had this encyclopedic knowledge of every division in Zynga, and just routed us”.

The four other alleged bidders each have a stronghold in the social games space.

Disney runs Club Penguin and is pushing hard in the mobile space (Where’s My Water). It also bought Playdom in 2010 for more than $550 million.

A year prior, EA bought UK group Playfish in a deal worth upwards of $300 million, and has since become widely seen as the second-biggest social games publisher in the west.

Japan headquartered Gree, meanwhile, has built a robust social and mobile network, bolstered further twelve months ago with the $100 million OpenFeint acquisition.

Dena, an established social games titan in the east, is making inroads across Europe and North America, having acquired Ngmoco for about $400 million.

Zynga, which ultimately secured the Omgpop acquisition, is now poised for further big-name buyouts, its CEO Mark Pincus said.