Japanese publisher and developer Square Enix is throwing its hat into the ring with a bid to acquire publisher Eidos Interactive, although it seems unlikely they can compete with Warner Bros., who already owns a stake in the Tomb Raider
Electronic Arts and Ubisoft have reportedly already made bids for the company
, which just finalized its renaming
from SCi to Eidos to highlight its strengths. The naming move fueled widespread speculation that as Eidos faces mounting losses, it's grooming itself for a buyout.
Now, according to a report by UK trade paper MCV, both Warner Bros. and Square Enix will launch rival acquisition bids
Square Enix has shown an increased interest
in addressing Western audiences over the past year, and would be likely benefit in that goal by gaining control of a key franchise like Tomb Raider
However, MCV's unnamed sources suggest that Warner Bros. is still more likely than EA, Ubisoft or Square Enix to succeed in its bid. The U.S. media giant already owns 20 percent of Eidos, after previously signing a comprehensive distribution and licensing deal.
Square Enix could attempt to acquire only specific assets, such as IO Interactive or the Hitman
franchise -- which president Yoichi Wada recently visited to evaluate -- but Eidos shareholders are unlikely to favor this approach.
"I think Warners will still win, but it's very interesting that Square have expressed this late interest," the unnamed source tells MCV. "They are clearly looking for Western talent."
Neither Warner Bros., Eidos or Ubisoft have commented on any of the rumors; EA recently told Gamasutra it would not address "speculation" regarding any of its mergers and acquisitions strategies.