Electronic Arts has purchased a 19.9% stake in the French company UbiSoft Entertainment, maker of popular videogames developed in conjunction with novelist Tom Clancy.

(The Hollywood Reporter) -- Electronic Arts has purchased a 19.9% stake in the French company UbiSoft Entertainment, maker of popular videogames developed in conjunction with novelist Tom Clancy.

Electronic Arts also said Jan. 3 that it has changed the terms of its effort to acquire a controlling stake in Digital Illusions, the Swedish videogame developer whose "Battlefield Vietnam" was created for Electronic Arts.

A previous offer by Electronic Arts expired Dec. 30 when it failed to accumulate enough shareholders to sell 90% of the Digital Illusion shares to Electronic Arts. Changes have extended the deadline to Jan. 20, and Electronic Arts said its new goal is to acquire more than 50% of Digital Illusion.

As for UbiSoft, Electronic Arts paid a reported $85 million-$100 million for its stake, purchased from Talpa Beheer BV, an investment arm of "Big Brother" creator and Endemol CEO John de Mol.

Although some analysts speculated that the Electronic Arts investment in UbiSoft presaged an outright acquisition of the company, Electronic Arts spokesman Jeff Brown suggested that it was more a defensive move.

"We knew these shares were going on the market, and we thought it would be in our best interest to purchase them," Brown said. "If they ever want to merge their company, these shares will be very important."

As for Digital Illusions, Brown said it is the intention of Electronic Arts to help the company make a more meaningful move into console gaming, as it has been known primarily for its PC games.

"We want to spread them out," he said. "They'll need help transitioning to the new consoles. It's a difficult and complicated process, and we think they'd benefit from us being a full partner."