SCi gets upper hand in Eidos scramble

Reports state all-stock offer from SCi gains backing; necessary shareholder approval seen as likely.

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A loosely sourced dispatch in today's issue of the London-based Guardian newspaper reports that yesterday's meeting between executives from ailing Tomb Raider publisher Eidos and its would-be buyer, SCi Entertainment, has rallied support for the latter's offer for the company.

SCi sources told The Guardian that more than 26 percent of Eidos investors--including Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and Gartmore Investment--have now gotten behind SCi's bid. That figure includes the previous backing of investment firm Schroders, which owns 20 percent of Eidos.

While 26 percent may seem small, it is enough to block a rival bid from Elevation Partners, a US-based venture capital firm that includes former Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello and U2 lead singer Bono on its board. Two weeks ago, Elevation offered 71 million pounds ($135 million) in cash for Eidos, only to be trumped by a 76.1 million pound ($144.6 million) all-stock bid from SCi last week. Due to the specifics of the Elevation offer, SCi needs to rally only 25 percent of Eidos shareholder support to block it, which it secured today.

With the Elevation offer now blocked, SCi needs to secure the backing of a mere majority of Eidos investors to prevail in the bidding war. A high-placed source at SCi told The Guardian that the company is now "confident" of winning over the additional investors needed.

Neither SCi nor Eidos would comment on the record regarding the Guardian dispatch as of press time.

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