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Electronic Arts Buys 'Angry Birds' Publisher

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gaming giant Electronic Arts (ERTS) confirmed it acquired UK-based mobile game publisher Chillingo after rumors of the deal surfaced this morning.

Chillingo, the publisher of the popular Angry Birds mobile device game, was snapped up for about $20 million, according to Reuters.

Angry Birds, in which players hurl birds in slingshots toward some type of target to win points and advance to new levels, was ranked the most popular paid Apple (AAPL) iPhone app during the third quarter of 2010 and the second most popular paid iPad app, according to mobile analytics provider Distimo. The game has sold more than 6.5 million copies in the App Store since December of 2009.

Electronic Arts did not buy the rights to the Angry Birds franchise nor the game's developer, Rovio Mobile. EA will, however, receive access to publishing revenue from the game's sales.

"By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple platform as well as reaffirming its position as the world's leading wireless entertainment publisher," Electronic Arts said in a statement.

The transaction comes on the heels of DeNA's $400 million acquisition of mobile gaming company ngmoco last week. Other recent gaming deals include Electronic Arts' acquisition of Playfish for $300 million and Disney's (DIS) purchase of Playdom for $763 million.

The mobile gaming market is expected to surge to $11.7 billion by 2014 with Apple's OS software responsible for the bulk of this growth, according to gaming research firm DFC Intelligence.

Shares of Electronic Arts were down in after-hours trading Wednesday 0.26%at $15.40.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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