Electronic Arts Shutters PopCap Games' Dublin Studio, Lays Off 96 Workers

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By Yannick LeJacq | September 25, 2012 1:47 AM EST

Little more than a month after reports surfaced of a potential shutdown of its international studios, Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: EA) has confirmed that it is closing down operations of PopCap Games' studio in Dublin.

Late last month, EA’s head of labels Frank Gibeau told Bloomberg that lay-offs at two studios owned by their subsidiary PopCap Games, located in Seattle and Dublin, were a result of “duplicative” roles and a renewed focus on mobile and digital gaming by the parent company itself.

PopCap’s associate producer John Vaughan confirmed the closure of the Dublin studio via Twitter.

“And it’s official, Popcap Dublin is now closed,” he wrote, adding a frown-faced emoticon.

In Ireland, EA announced last week the addition of 300 jobs for its European Customer Experience Center in Galway, almost doubling the number of staff. The Galway facility currently employs close to 400 people.

“Europe remains a critical market for PopCap and we will continue to grow our presence through centralized services operated from our North American offices and through the extensive European EA network,” said Gareth Chouteau, PopCap’s senior director of worldwide PR, in a statement released Monday.

EA first acquired PopCap Games, creator of popular games like “Bejewled” and “Plants vs. Zombies,” for $1.3 billion in July 2011. The buyout, which was rumored to win out over industry rival Zynga by $300 million, was part of EA’s broad plan to expand into the casual game market as it noticed a steep decline in traditional video game sales.

News of the layoffs comes less than a week after EA reported it would be creating 300 new jobs in Ireland through an expanded customer service center based in Galway. In its statement regarding PopCap Dublin’s closure, Chouteau added that the company will offer outplacement support for the 96 employees affected -- either in other parts of PopCap, at EA, or with other partners in Ireland.

“Typically at EA what we do when we acquire a company is we make sure that we go slow initially and really understand the culture of the company, and then we look for whether there’s opportunities to integrate the companies – and then we accelerate,” Gibeau said last month when explaining his company’s prospective restructuring and potential layoffs to Bloomberg.

“So with PopCap,” he added, “what we found is that there are some areas inside PopCap that were duplicative what EA was doing; a lot of central resources, legal, business affairs those types of things so we accelerated the integration there.”

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