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SCi offers further details on new takeover bids

British publisher SCi has confirmed that two approaches have been made to the company regarding an acquisition in recent months, with the most recent being made only last week - but the identities of the suitors remain undisclosed.

British publisher SCi has confirmed that two approaches have been made to the company regarding an acquisition in recent months, with the most recent being made only last week - but the identities of the suitors remain undisclosed.

In a statement issued today, SCi's management said that since the company acquired its larger rival Eidos last May, becoming the UK's largest publisher in the process, it has had discussions with two parties regarding a possible acquisition - the first of which came as early as June.

"Although the party making the first approach has not notified the Board whether it intends to progress its interest, no specific discussions have been held since June," the statement explained. "The second approach was received last week and discussions are ongoing."

In other words, while one of the bids appears to be dead in the water - four months is quite a long time for there to be no contact in negotiations such as these - a second set of negotiations are very much alive.

News that the merged SCi / Eidos group was a potential acquisition target broke yesterday morning when London newspapers the Financial Times and the Daily Mail ran the story, with the Mail naming Electronic Arts, Midway and private equity firm Apax Partners as the interested parties.

That's three suitors, while SCi has only confirmed the interest of two - suggesting that if the Mail's sources are accurate, it's likely that Apax Partners' interest in the deal is as a financier for one of the interested publishers, most probably Midway.

SCi's stock, which rose by around 28 per cent yesterday to close at 600 pence, was trading down this morning on the news - it was at 574 pence in early afternoon trading, down just over four per cent.

The management of SCi recently reiterated its expectation that it will return Eidos - the publisher behind brands including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Championship Manager - to profitability in the 2006 financial year.

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Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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