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SCi poised to buy Empire as Lara success continues

Reports in British newspapers this week have indicated that publisher SCi may be the mystery bidder who is in "advanced discussions" to buy its smaller rival Empire, after the firm announced plans to raise a GBP 17.4 million pound acquisition warchest.

Reports in British newspapers this week have indicated that publisher SCi may be the mystery bidder who is in "advanced discussions" to buy its smaller rival Empire, after the firm announced raising a GBP 17.4 million pound acquisition chest.

Both the Financial Times and the Guardian have linked the two companies in their business pages, after Empire announced on Wednesday that it had narrowed the number of suitors it was discussing an acquisition with down to one.

SCi, which last year acquired larger rival Eidos and has since been lauded for its success in turning around the fortunes of the Wimbledon-based firm, announced on Monday that it plans to raise GBP 17.4 million for acquisitions through a share placement.

The announcement, which comes on the back of the strong performance of the latest Tomb Raider game at retail - with the US-developed Tomb Raider Legend being hailed as a return to form for the franchise - stated that the acquisitions would be aimed at giving SCi an entry into the casual games market.

Although Empire is by no means a leading publisher of casual games, the firm does have a number of key products on its catalogue which fit that bracket, including updated versions of Space Invaders and a Sudoku title endorsed by TV celebrity Carol Vorderman.

The timing is certainly in SCi's favour, as it is currently well-positioned on the markets to raise money for this kind of acquisition - having already succeeded in integrating a much larger company into its operations, and enjoying considerable commercial success with a headline product.

However, some industry insiders have expressed concerns over whether a further acquisition would overstretch SCi's management - with the firm's small team of top managers already said to be overburdened with managing the combined SCi / Eidos.

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Rob Fahey avatar

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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