Firms compete for Eidos buy-out

Capitalists and SCi go head to head

Hope remains alive that embattled UK publisher Eidos might yet remain in UK hands last night, despite a bid last night from private equity firm Elevation Partners, a US institution headed by the likes of former EA chief John Riccitiello. The firm offered 50p a share, a life-line for Eidos, who may be forced into liquidation when funds run out on March 25th. But now a rival saviour bid from UK publisher SCi has come in to challenge the American investors, and the Conflict publisher are clearly hoping to get their hands on Eidos' valuable IP and grow their stake in the games market. SCi are offering an improved 53.6p per share - valuing the company at around the 76 million pounds mark.

Elevation's offer is based on cash, whilst the rival bid is a stock deal offering one SCi share for every six Eidos shares held, a marginally improved offer, which if successful would create the UK's largest publisher - and a firm with the potential to be a major player on the world stage. SCi will enlarge their share capital to enable the offer and also offer new shares to raise some sixty million pounds to help give the new group a firm start in life. SCi have listed a number of improvements which the deal would instigate, including development investment, administrative cost saving, brand revival and improvement to delivery performance.

Whether SCi's interest will spark attention from other publishers remains to be seen, especially given the obvious appeal of Eidos' various IPs, which would only remain in British hands if this rival offer is a success.

"We believe that this is an excellent opportunity for both Eidos and SCi shareholders to invest in a major computer games publisher at a time when the global market has never been bigger," argued SCi chief executive Jane Cavanagh. "Whilst Eidos' brands, studios and staff have significant potential, its continued financial problems appear to have resulted in rushed development cycles, missed deadlines and products that have not done justice to their brands," she added. "We are completely confident that the application of our successful business model across the Enlarged Group will significantly enhance shareholder value for both SCi and Eidos shareholders."

We'll keep you posted on this situation as it evolves.

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