Circle plc ('Circle'), a developer and publisher of interactive DVD and video games, today announces its intention to seek admission of its shares to trading on the AIM Market ('AIM') of the London Stock Exchange. Dealings are expected to commence on AIM in October 2005.
Circle plc is the parent company of Circle Studio Limited (together "the Group"), which was established in 2003 by CEO Jeremy Heath-Smith and Managing Director Adrian Smith. Circle's development is focused on the interactive DVD games format. DVD games exploit the interactive capabilities of the DVD player and are family-orientated trivia, puzzle, adventure and learning games. Jeremy and Adrian share 40 years' collective experience in the games industry and are responsible for the creation of one of the world's most successful games franchises: 'Tomb Raider'.
Circle has built strong relationships with global mass-market brands and has the exclusive contractual right to create and publish the official FIFA licensed DVD quiz games. Two FIFA licensed products will be released prior to next year's FIFA World CupTM in Germany: A 'Scene iT?' branded 2006 FIFA World CupTM edition to be published by Mattel, and the official FIFA World CupTM' licensed football trivia quiz game which the Group will publish itself. Under the terms of the licence, Circle intends to bring to the market several further FIFA branded licensed DVD quiz games.
The Group also has an exclusive collaboration with the 'Now That's What I Call Music' brand; this is a joint venture between Circle and the two 'NOW' partners, EMI and Universal Music. 'NOW' is the biggest compilation label in the UK/US music business and Circle's agreement allows it to create a series of 'NOW' iDVD titles, the first to be released this November by Virgin/EMI.
Steve Pritchard, Co-Managing Director of EMI Television comments: 'Circle is at the forefront of this exciting new technology and their treatment of the NOW brand looks set to provide music fans with a highly entertaining test of their pop knowledge. We have every confidence that our collaboration will result in chart-topping products.'
Additional multi-product licences which the Group has acquired for the format over the coming years include 'Discovery Channel', 'Discovery Kids' and US super-brand 'NBA'.
The interactive DVD format emerged in late 2003 and has become one of the fastest growing categories in the toy sector, the most recognisable examples being Mattel's 'Scene iT?' and Universal's 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire', which have both sold circa one million units. Sales of DVD games grew 600% between 2003 and 2004 and the category is projected to reach $1billion in 2007. The DVD player is the fastest growing consumer electronics device in the world; 300 million players are forecast to be in use by the end of 2005, rising to 493 million by 2010.*
Significant advantages of games on the interactive DVD format include shorter development periods (typically 4-6 months), smaller teams and lower overheads in comparison to traditional computer and video games.
The Circle team is a group of highly skilled developers and industry professionals. Complementing the Smith brothers, COO Martin Carr's career includes record-breaking licences such as 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?', and 'Pop Idol'. Non-executive chairman and games industry veteran, Ian Livingstone, is co-founder of 'Games Workshop' and author/co-author of the 'Fighting Fantasy' series of interactive books.
CFO, Ian Neal, has also been instrumental in the development and success of Circle Studio Limited. Appointed to the board in 2005, Ian has worked intensively alongside Jeremy Heath-Smith since 2003 to set up and develop Circle. The Group's brand portfolio now enables it to enjoy a leading position within this young and dynamic marketplace, with further licences expected to be confirmed over the coming months.
Commenting on the decision to float on AIM, Jeremy Heath-Smith, Chief Executive of Circle plc, said: "We are at the forefront of this exciting new sector; our creative talent is unparalleled and we have a long and proven track record of bringing commercially successful entertainment software to the mass-market. We are confident that our expertise, combined with key brands, will enable us to deliver highly compelling interactive DVD games - and meaningful returns to shareholders."
(Daniel Stewart is acting as Nominated Adviser and Broker to the Company).
*(Source Screen Digest)
- Ends -
For further information:
Susie Hamilton, PR Manager