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Elevation Partners Purchases Eidos

Elevation Partners Purchases Eidos

March 21, 2005 | By Nich Maragos, Simon Carless

March 21, 2005 | By Nich Maragos, Simon Carless
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Elevation Partners LP, a venture capital firm, has emerged as UK-headquartered publisher Eidos' buyer, after significant speculation regarding a multitude of possible suitors, at a sum of 71 million pounds ($134 million USD) in cash. The offer equated to 50 pence per share of Eidos, slightly higher than the company's market value of 44 3/4 pence per share.

Eidos had apparently rejected an earlier bid on March 2nd at 53 pence per share, but did not say who the rejected buyer was or for what reasons it refused the offer. However, Elevation's approach may have been attractive because it currently has no other games interests, perhaps minimizing the possibility of a merger or a staff decrease.

Elevation Partners LP is also notable for a couple of its current managing partners: U2's lead singer Bono was brought on board with Elevation in August 2004. Though Bono and U2 have been associated with Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, Eidos' lead property, in the past -- images of Lara Croft showed up on the video wall during their Pop tour, and their "Elevation" single had a Tomb Raider-themed video. However, a much more likely player in the deal would be John Riccitiello, former president of Electronic Arts, and founding member of Elevation Partners, which he left EA to set up in mid-2004.

Elevation Partners' website makes the statement: "Elevations focus is on intellectual property businesses where it can partner with management to enhance growth and profitability through a combination of strategic capital and operational insight."

"The board firmly believes that shareholders' interests are best served by a sale of the company," said John van Kuffeler, Eidos' chairman of the board. Kuffeler likely bore in mind Eidos' need to fulfil a 23-million pound bank loan in the near future, as well as its weak bottom line for the 2005 fiscal year so far.

The company posted an operating loss after taxes of 26.5 million euros ($38.5 million USD) for the last 6 months of 2004, and was anticipating continued problems to come. Eidos, formed from the ashes of publisher Domark in the early '90s, still owns some significant properties, however, including its internally-created Tomb Raider franchise, and the well-respected Bay Area development house Crystal Dynamics.

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