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Property tycoon secures 15 per cent share in SCi

As industry watchers continue to speculate over consistent rumours regarding the acquisition of UK videogames publisher SCi, a 'secret' investor has quietly secured a fifteen per cent stake in the firm.

As industry watchers continue to speculate over rumours regarding the acquisition of UK videogames publisher SCi, a 'secret' investor has quietly secured a fifteen per cent stake in the firm.

According to US investor reports cited by trade magazine MCV, Thornson Investments acquired some 5.3 million shares on Friday (January 20th), doubling the company's stake to 14.66 per cent.

Thornson Investments is backed by British-Iranian property magnate Robert Tchenguiz, a well-placed member of high society who is said to have introduced Dodi Fayed to Princess Diana and whose father was the jeweller to the Shah of Iran. It is thought unlikely that a complete take-over bid is Tchenguiz' intention, although Thornson Investments is now likely to have a more significant role in any proposed acquisition discussions.

SCi acquired rival UK publisher Eidos Interactive last year, and had initially revealed that it had received approaches from various potential suitors in October - just six months after its Eidos take-over. The company's stock price took a tumble last week as discussions had appeared to have ceased, prompting a statement from the firm confirming that an acquisition deal was still a distinct possibility.

According to SCi, the company's revenues for the first six months of integration with Eidos exceeded expectations by approximately GBP 15 million, reaching in excess of GBP 40 million for the full six-month period.

Confident of meeting its current fiscal targets and ensuring a return to profitability for Eidos, the stock market responded accordingly and SCi shares continue to trade above the 500 pence mark following the announcement. Further information on the acquisition talks, with Midway Games repeatedly pointed to as the most likely suitor, will be revealed as soon as possible.

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