Midway acquires Pitbull Syndicate

UK-based L.A. Rush developer becomes latest addition to publisher's internal development team.

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L.A. Rush, Midway's reinvention of its Rush franchise, isn't scheduled to hit stores until next week, but the Chicago-based publisher is apparently pretty pleased with the final product. Today the company announced that it has acquired the game's developer, UK-based Pitbull Syndicate Limited, at a cost of more than 200,000 shares of Midway stock.

Known primarily for its work on the Test Drive series, Pitbull Syndicate also developed a pair of Demolition Racer games for Infogrames, as well as EA's snowboarding PlayStation game Big Air.

Midway senior vice president of worldwide studios Matt Booty explained the acquisition. "Pitbull has mastered the art and science of arcade-style racers, with sophisticated technology that allows huge free-roaming environments, hundreds of destructible objects, and an advanced artificial intelligence system capable of handling more than 100 vehicles at once," Booty said.

"Pitbull will form the foundation of Midway's future racing games, and we are excited to expand our international presence in one of the strongest regions for game development talent in the UK."

As part of the deal, Pitbull will be renamed Midway Studios - Newcastle. The acquisition came at the expense of 199,385 shares of Midway stock, which opened on the New York Stock Exchange at $15.55 today, putting the base value of the purchase--if today's opening price were used--at just over $3.1 million.

An additional 25,146 restricted shares of Midway stock (worth more than $391,000 using today's opening price) were issued to key Pitbull employees as retention incentives. The restrictions on those shares will be lifted in three years for employees who stay with the company.

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