Report: Midway eyeing SCi, VUG not

[UPDATE] Unconfirmed reports say the Mortal Kombat-maker and WOW house is courting the new owner of Tomb Raider; Other publisher shoots down takeover reports.

Several months ago, SCi Entertainment finalized its purchase of its onetime rival Eidos Interactive. The British company ended up paying 72 million pounds ($125.6 million) in stock for the publisher of the Hitman and Tomb Raider games, following a bidding war with US venture capital firm Elevation Partners. (Elevation would go on to underwrite the union of top independent developers BioWare and Pandemic Studios.) SCi has since put almost all of Eidos' holiday 2005 releases on hold due to "financial review," including Hitman: Blood Money, 25 to Life, and Tomb Raider: Legend.

Now, SCi itself has become the subject of takeover talk. This week, British financial daily The Business reported that Midway Games is among several companies eyeing a takeover of the publisher, which is currently valued at 406 million pounds ($708 million). Though Midway is losing money, thanks to a spate of flops including L.A. Rush and Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows, it does have a potentially vast source of capital to draw on. The publisher is almost entirely owned by Sumner Redstone, the multibillionaire CEO of global media giant Viacom.

Games industry analyst Nick Gibson told The Business that "Midway is a midtier publisher, as is SCI, and to compete with Activision and Electronics Arts, the market leader, they both would benefit from the synergies of being put together."

Another potential suitor mentioned was VU Games, owned by media conglomerate Vivendi Universal. After losing money for years, VUG is currently flush with cash, thanks to a string of PC hits, including Half-Life 2, S.W.A.T. and the wildly popular World of Warcraft.

[UPDATE] However, late Thursday, VUG issued a terse denial of any interest in SCi. "In view of articles published in the UK press, Vivendi Universal denies any interest in SCi Entertainment and also denies having made any offer."

The Business article said the third would-be SCi-buyer was a non-game-related British venture capital group, Apax.

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Discussion

16 comments
Myugenjin
Myugenjin

With MTV, CBS, VH1, and CMT under Viacoms belt they should be able to afford a quality dev team to make both the new Tomb Raider and Hitman series great! If anything Ubisoft is the EA, They done exceedingly well since the Xbox and have beaten EA's revenues quarter after quarter. Activision just doesn't have enoughnew titles. TTwo through 2k games is expected to really grow over the next gen cycle!

ashlyantony
ashlyantony

Oh man Blood Money or No Money, just release the gore Hitman series.

HitmanAgent47
HitmanAgent47

At least Midway would be better to own IOI than EA. Those jerks would whore out Hitman like there was no tomorrow.

CloudStrifeFFO7
CloudStrifeFFO7

Hopefully Tomb Raider Legend will be cool the original was the best after the second one man thay whent down hill!!

secily
secily

another small company assimilated by a bigger borg

Mohamadouf
Mohamadouf

who care whom take over whom, all we care about is the release date of the game .... i hope those people at io interactive be fine and already over with the development of blood money. and damn publishers for delaying games

Gamedrain
Gamedrain

I understand people's problem with TR after AoD, but Crystal Dynamics is turning the whole thing around... However, I'd rather these buyouts stop, first SCi, and now Midway? enough already...

ewjim
ewjim

I don't think that anything can revive tomb Raider or Hitman...

peaveyj
peaveyj

psh... tomb raider, its all about commandos!!!

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

i think tomb raider is a little past its prime

macmaster1
macmaster1

It think this move would be a great idea. EA could finally get some real competition. That would lead to better quality games.

CubeCool
CubeCool

I'm putting my bets on Activision becoming the next EA.

revthegod
revthegod

maybe midway will be a mini ea in the future who knows

TOOL462rules
TOOL462rules

I hope Midway gets them, that'd be great, a new big dog in town, Midway is expanding into PC with Unreal, and this a great next step.

umbrae
umbrae

Just hand over Tomb Raider and no one will get hurt. Unless it sucks as bad as the last one....