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Microsoft Agrees to Acquire BigPark Inc.

Microsoft Corp. intends to acquire BigPark Inc., an interactive online gaming company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. BigPark was founded in 2007 by a group of industry veterans who led the creation and growth of two hugely successful software companies, Distinctive Software Inc. and Electronic Arts Canada. BigPark’s founding team is composed of business leaders with over 80 years of collective experience in the video game industry, having produced or overseen blockbuster franchises including “Need for Speed,” “FIFA Soccer,” “NBA Street” and “SSX.”

The acquisition will bring BigPark’s talented developers into Microsoft Game Studios, where the team will continue development on an exclusive Xbox 360 game. Over the past year, Microsoft and BigPark have worked closely on this project, providing Microsoft with a clear view into the caliber of talent and innovation at BigPark.

“We are delighted by the opportunity to welcome the BigPark team into Microsoft Game Studios,” said Phil Spencer, general manager, Microsoft Game Studios. “The team is composed of some of the most experienced and creative minds working in the industry today. The combination of the BigPark and Microsoft Game Studios talent pools will be an accelerant for growth and innovation. We believe BigPark has tremendous potential to create new properties and innovative gaming experiences for our platforms, one of which we’re looking forward to showcasing at the E3 Expo in June.”

BigPark CEO and co-founder Hanno Lemke, who will report to Spencer post-acquisition, formerly served in executive and development positions with Electronic Arts and Distinctive Software Inc., where he produced or oversaw hit games such as “NHL Hockey,” “Need for Speed” and “Skate.”

“Given our shared passion for breaking new ground in the online space and producing best-in-class gaming experiences, our partnership with Microsoft over the last year has been a natural fit, which we’ve thoroughly enjoyed,” Lemke said.

“This opportunity provides us with access to the unparalleled talent, resources and exciting innovation taking place within Microsoft,” said Wil Mozell, studio president and co-founder of BigPark. “We’re looking forward to being part of the Microsoft Game Studios team, where we believe we can successfully contribute to shaping key Microsoft initiatives through fresh and engaging consumer experiences.”

BigPark was founded by Wil Mozell, Erik Kiss, Hanno Lemke and Don Mattrick before Mattrick assumed the role of senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. Mattrick’s role as an investor in BigPark was fully disclosed to Microsoft before he joined the company, and his ongoing involvement as chairman of BigPark was approved pursuant to the Microsoft Standards of Business Conduct.

 [May 11, 2009]


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