Electronic Arts gets social with Playfish acquisition

In what is turning out to be Acquistion Monday, Electronic Arts annouced today that it has acquired social gaming startup Playfish for $275 Million in cash.

An additional $25 Million in stock will be set aside for retaining the top talent at the startup, and another $100 Million in earnouts are part of the deal as well if the business hits certain milestones. So the total value of the deal could amount to as much as $400 Million when all is said and done.

London-based Playfish operates social games on Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, and other social networks which have been installed more than 150 Million times, and claims 60 Million monthly active users. Top games include Pet Society, Restaurant City, Country Story and Who Has The Biggest Brain?

With social games becoming increasingly popular, Electronic Arts needed to buy one of the top players: Zynga, Playdom, or Playfish. And Playfish must have been the best fit.

Interesting timing though. Since the top social gaming players rely heavily on revenue from trading in-game virtual currency for advertising offers, there is no doubt the final valuation was affected by last week’s expose of the industry.