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Electronic Arts today announced they will be acquiring Westwood Studios and all in-development software titles.

Virgin Interactive has consistently lost money since acquiring Westwood in 1992 with losses of $43.5 million on sales of $241.3 million last year alone. This purchase gives EA the intellectual property rights to the massively-successful Command & Conquer, Lands of Lore, Dune and a number of other undisclosed titles that, according to a source close to the company, will likely be cancelled.

Here is the full text of the press release:

Electronic Arts To Buy Westwood Studios From Virgin Interactive Entertainment
1997’s Best-Selling PlayStation Racing Video Game Poised to Repeat Success with Next Generation of Game on the Nintendo 64

SAN MATEO, Calif., August 17, 1998– Electronic Arts™ (Nasdaq:ERTS), the world’s largest interactive entertainment software company, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase all outstanding stock of Westwood Studios, Inc., and certain other studio assets of Virgin Interactive Entertainment, Inc., a division of Spelling Entertainment Group, Inc. (NYSE: SP). The cash transaction is valued at $122.5 million.

Subject to customary regulatory approvals, the acquisition of Westwood is expected to close at the end of September. Founded in 1985 by Brett Sperry and Louis Castle, the Las Vegas-based company is known for the best-selling franchise Command & Conquer®, which has been one of the most successful PC games ever, and the critically acclaimed Lands of Lore™ and Dune™series.

Electronic Arts’ Chairman and CEO Larry Probst said, “We are pleased to announce this partnership, which combines one of the industry’s top game development studios with EA’s unmatched worldwide sales, marketing and distribution capabilities. We believe the addition of the Westwood product line and development teams will help us achieve our goal to be the No. 1 publisher of entertainment software for the PC.”

EA’s President of Worldwide Studios Don Mattrick said, “Westwood is one of the most respected studios in the world, with an impressive portfolio of best-selling franchises and brilliant creative talent. Their strong PC product line, populated with chart-topping hits such as Command & Conquer and Lands of Lore, will allow us to provide an even broader array of high-quality products to our customers. We are excited that Brett and Louis have chosen Electronic Arts to be the new home for Westwood Studios.”

Brett Sperry, Westwood’s president and CEO, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Electronic Arts, the most prominent and successful publisher in our industry. We were courted by many companies, but in the end we knew that EA would provide us with the best infrastructure and support that we need to continue building great games.”

Both Westwood founders, Messrs. Sperry and Castle, have signed five-year employment contracts.

Westwood Studios is a division of Virgin Interactive Entertainment, which is a division of Spelling Entertainment Group Inc. Viacom Inc. (AMEX:VIA and VIAB) owns approximately 80 percent of Spelling Entertainment. Westwood is a prominent publisher of best-selling PC, Macintosh® and next-generation console games. The company has released several popular titles including: the Lands of Lore series, the Kyrandia® adventure trilogy, Monopoly® for the Internet, Blade Runner, Games People Play, and the Command & Conquer product line.

Electronic Arts (EA), headquartered in San Mateo, California, is the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of $909 million for fiscal 1998. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for personal computers and advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation® and Nintendo® 64. EA has international subsidiaries and distribution in more than 75 countries worldwide.

Electronic Arts has major development operations in nine locations throughout the world that are based in San Mateo and Walnut Creek, Calif.; Baltimore, Maryland; Austin, Texas; Maitland, Florida; Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; the United Kingdom and Japan. More information about EA’s products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at www.ea.com.

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