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Empire IP rights sold as 49 staff made redundant

By Matt Martin

Tue 05 May 2009 3:21pm GMT / 11:21am EDT / 8:21am PDT

UK publisher to be wound down by KPMG citing "fatal impact" of losses, development spend and greenlight delays

UK publisher Empire Interactive has officially gone into administration, with the rights to its intellectual property already sold to New World IP in the US.

Administrator KPMG Restructuring has been appointed to wind down the company and is not seeking to sell the business.

"Despite the fact that the gaming industry has been relatively unscathed by the current recession, trading losses, development spend and a delay in recent new product approval had a fatal impact on the Empire's cash flow," said Ian Corfield, restructuring director at KPMG.

"We are not looking to sell the business as a going concern and are effecting an orderly wind-down of Empire's operations."

49 members of staff have been made redundant, with six staying on to help KPMG wind-down the business. Last week, parent company Silverstar Holdings said that it was still negotiating the future of the Empire business.

Silverstar acquired the publisher in 2006. In 2008 CEO Ian Higgins stepped down from the company after 21 years, and later the same year it dropped internal development in order to save around USD 3 million per year.

Empire was responsible for publishing brands such as FlatOut, Hello Kitty, Ford Racing and Jackass.

Silverstar was delisted from the NASDAQ earlier this year, and the firm did not appeal the decision. Empire also has European offices in Germany, Spain, France and Italy.

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