FTC Clears Elevation Exit

WASHINGTON (AP) – Antitrust regulators have cleared Electronic Arts Inc.'s $775 million purchase of two software studios from private equity fund Elevation Partners, a government agency said Monday.

EA, the world's leading video game publisher, said last month it agreed to purchase VG Holding Corp., the parent company of BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios.

Under terms of the deal, EA will pay VG stockholders $620 million in cash and issue as much as $155 million in equity to some of the company's employees.

EA is known for blockbusters such as “The Sims” and “Madden NFL,” but it has little market share in action, adventure and role-playing games. The acquisition is intended to strengthen its offerings in those markets, company executives said last month.

The Federal Trade Commission included the deal on a list of transactions that received an “early termination” of their antitrust reviews. Early termination refers to the completion of a review before the end of a 30-day period required under antitrust law.

The deal is expected to close in January. Investors in Elevation Partners include the rock singer Bono.

EA's shares fell $1.12 to $59.34 in early trading Monday.