Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tues - Leading UK games publisher soars on bid talk

SCi Entertainment, the UK's leading games publisher soared to a massive valuation of nearly $800M, four times their worth only a year ago, as they are rumoured to be in talks to be bought.

SCi is perhaps best known for publishing Lara Crofts Tomb Raider and Hitman, the titles they themselves acquired earlier this year in what now looks like a sneakily smart deal.

It seems as though lead bidders include Electronic Arts and Midway Games, a Chicago-based publisher controlled by Sumner Redstone. EA apparently needs the deal to help them prop up a few quarters of declining sales and Midway because Sumner thinks electronic games is the next big thing. Sling in a few prowling private equity groups and it looks like SC1 could even go for $900M.

Given that for the 9 months to June 2005 SCi has racked up a loss of $24M on sales of $30M they could end up selling for a huge multiple. Mind you, with the next generation of games consoles about to debut and the usual buying frenzy surrounding this, games is becoming a huge and critical media segment.

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