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SCi Terminates Buy-Out Talks, Delays  Tomb Raider Underworld
SCi Terminates Buy-Out Talks, Delays Tomb Raider Underworld
January 10, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

January 10, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander
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British publisher and Eidos owner SCi has recently released a trading statement announcing it has terminated discussions surrounding a possible takeover of the company, which have been ongoing since September 2007.

SCi says it's spoken to "various interested parties" since officially announcing its consideration of offers -- three parties, including Time Warner and an unnamed Chinese company, were reportedly interested -- but now says it has not received a formal offer in appropriate time.

At the time takeover discussions were announced, SCi's stock price rose amid speculation over a potential bidding war for the company, which publishes titles including Tomb Raider and Hitman. Though the company came to be valued at around 300 million ($607m), SCi management were thought to consider this valuation too low, a likely obstacle to potential deals.

Said the company in the filing, "The Board no longer believes that a sale of the company for its full value is likely to be achieved at the current time, and has reached the view that it is not in the company's or its shareholders' interests to prolong these discussions further and therefore offer related discussions have been terminated today."

The filing also revealed that the release date of the next Tomb Raider game, Tomb Raider Underworld, has been moved to the fourth quarter of 2008, and will release simultaneously on six platforms (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, DS, Wii and PS2) during the Christmas season, as opposed to the previously-planned 3 platforms (PC, PS3 and Xbox 360) in June.

Due to the delay, SCi anticipates a fiscal 2008 operating loss, but stressed the expectation that the multi-platform launch will optimize the franchise's long-term value.

SCi's 2008 slate is comprised of 10 titles including Conflict: Denied Ops, a series of casual-focused titles featuring Warner Bros. characters, and the next installment of the Pony Friends game, which SCi says has sold 600,000 units to-date.

SCi also said that the takeover discussions, while unsuccessful, have nonetheless resulted in "certain commercial and strategic opportunities... which the Company is continuing to explore and progress."


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