VIS Entertainment files for bankruptcy

Scottish developer finds itself in authentic state of emergency; closes doors, lays off staff, seeks buyer.

The Edinburgh, Scotland-based newspaper The Scotsman reported yesterday that hometown game developer VIS Entertainment has filed for bankruptcy. The State of Emergency developer has laid off 54 staffers, effective immediately, at its Dundee, Scotland-based headquarters. The Scotsman identified VIS as that country's largest game development studio.

The studio was created in 1996 by the engaging and energetic Chris van der Kuyl. At one time, the studio employed more than 200 people in its two studios--its main branch in Dundee and another on the Isle of Wight. Van der Kuyl had a reputation as quite the entrepreneur; he was named Young Business Achiever at the 2002 Scottish Business Insider Corporate Elite Awards and was once named the Scottish regional winner of Ernst & Young's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

VIS Entertainment made its name with the release of the Rockstar-published State of Emergency in 2002.

VIS was acquired last May by US-based Bam Entertainment. At the time, a Bam executive said, "We believe this deal will position our combined businesses strongly in a highly competitive market and achieve significant synergies in our operations." The marketplace, obviously, had other plans. Bam did not return calls seeking an explanation as to its role in the closure of VIS. On the Nasdaq OTC board today, Bam Entertainment Inc. (BFUN) closed at $.07, up $.02 for the day. The one-year stock chart shows a steadily declining share price for the publisher--today's close is near Bam's 52-week trading low of $.025.

Reportedly, the team now managing the bankruptcy is intent on salvaging what it can from the ashes of VIS. The Scotsman is reporting that the joint administrators handling the legal proceedings were "carrying out a full assessment of the business and looking to reach agreements that will enable [VIS] to complete the work on the games under development." One of those games is State of Emergency 2.

The administrators said they were in discussions with "a number of parties interested in buying the VIS business."

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