SCi ends takeover talks

UK-based publisher terminates sell-off talks due to unlikeness to achieve "full value"; Tomb Raider: Underworld confirmed for Q4 2008.

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In September, Eidos parent company SCi Entertainment revealed it was entertaining buyout talks from undisclosed parties, and that discussions were in "very preliminary" stages. The ambiguity over SCi's potential purchasers spurred more rampant speculation and erroneous information than hard details, with Ubisoft, Time Warner, Electronic Arts, an unnamed Chinese investment firm, and, most recently, Midway all fingered as potential suitors.

As it turns out, the speculation was for naught; SCi said today that it had ended buyout discussions with all parties involved. "The board no longer believes that a sale of the Company for its full value is likely to be achieved at the current time and has reached the view that it is not in the company's or its shareholders' interests to prolong these discussions further," SCi said in a statement. SCi noted that the discussions had created "commercial and strategic opportunities," which it plans to pursue going forward.

As part of today's announcement, SCi also said it would be delaying four of its upcoming releases to the fourth calendar quarter of 2008. The only game the publisher specifically called out was Eidos' previously trademarked Tomb Raider: Underworld, which is now slated to ship simultaneously on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, Wii, and PC during the "Christmas season."

SCi also noted today that Eidos' tepidly reviewed Kane & Lynch: Dead Men had surpassed 1 million units sold, with management reaffirming interest in turning the property into a franchise. Pony Friends also appears to be doing well, with SCi claiming that the kid-friendly Nintendo DS effort has sold more than 600,000 units since leaving the stable last May.

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