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RealNetworks spends $36 million on game maker

RealNetworks said on Monday that it has agreed to buy GameHouse, a creator of downloadable games for PCs and mobile devices, for $35.6 million in cash and stock. The Seattle-based digital media delivery company said that the deal will bolster RealArcade, its client for managing games such as Solitaire, with more content. About 39 million people have downloaded RealArcade, according to RealNetworks. Larry Jacobson, RealNetwork's president, said the acquisition "adds horsepower" to its product depth and leadership in the casual game market, which research firm IDC estimates will be worth about $760 million by 2007.

Through the deal, RealNetworks adds 26 employees who will remain at GameHouse's Seattle headquarters. The acquisition will cost RealNetworks $14.6 million in cash and about 3.3 million in shares, worth $21 million based on its share price on Jan. 23. It expects the deal to be accretive to earnings by 1 cent per share in 2004, after acquisition charges and noncash amortization of intangibles.