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Share price collapse prompts new speculation over Eidos' future

Despite a official denial that any takeover talks are in progress, speculation has once again emerged today that Eidos may be the target of a buyout bid, after its share price collapsed by almost a third in the space of a few hours yesterday.

Despite a official denial that any takeover talks are in progress, speculation has once again emerged today that Eidos may be the target of a buyout bid, after its share price collapsed by almost a third in the space of a few hours yesterday.

Earlier this week, reports in the business press linked Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Activision to the company, with the three major publishers apparently considering buyout bids which would value Eidos at up to UKP325 million - news which pushed the firm's share price to a 12 month high of 184 pence.

However, yesterday the company announced that it has not been approached by any other parties regarding an acquisition bid, and simultaneously informed the market that it expects one of its biggest titles of the year, Hitman: Contracts, to miss its re-order estimates by some 700,000 units.

The company's share price collapsed by 32 per cent in trading on the London Stock Exchange yesterday, and it has lost a further 4.8 per cent today - with its price currently sitting at just under 115 pence.

Ironically, the drop in the company's share price has fuelled further speculation about a takeover, with media sources including the Financial Times pointing out that the crash in the stock value could make it attractive for a more predatory bid by a larger publisher.

Although it seems likely that many of the industry's largest publishers have looked at Eidos as a potential acquisition target, the evidence linking companies like Electronic Arts to the firm is tenuous at best. EA's involvement is reportedly down to an interest in acquiring Hitman developer IO Interactive, which was bought by Eidos last month; however, EA has shown no inclination to buy out other publishers, even in order to acquire valuable developers such as IO or Austin-based ION Storm.

The movements of Eidos' shares over the past few months have attracted significant interest, as investment bank Schroders picked up over 20 per cent of the company's stock in a series of smaller acquisitions, becoming Eidos' largest shareholder in the process, while a "mystery investor" purchased 12 per cent only weeks ago.

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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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