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Codemasters Plans Stock Market Flotation

Rod Cousens, CEO of British publisher and developer Codemasters, has announced plans for the company, the oldest independent publisher in the UK, to move towards a public flotation by the end of the year or the beginning of 2008, depending on market condi
Rod Cousens, CEO of British publisher and developer Codemasters, has announced plans for the company, the oldest independent publisher in the UK, to move towards a public flotation. Speaking to British trade paper MCV, Cousens indicated that the move was part of a three-year plan to revitalize the company, a plan which calls for global revenues of $250 million in the next eighteen months. The company is aiming for an initial public offering (IPO) at the end of the year or the beginning of 2008, depending on market conditions. The company’s latest financial results showed a profit of £1.1 million ($2.2m) for the year ending June 2006, greatly increased from a loss of £13 million ($25.7m) in 2005. This was achieved despite only a minor increase in turnover, from £50.6 million ($99.8m) in 2005 to £52.0 million ($102.6m) in 2006. 2007 sales targets have been fixed at $170 million, with a profit margin of around 10 percent. "We have powerful distribution in North America thanks to the Warners deal and layers of distribution all around the world. We also have a new portfolio of titles suited well to the global market," said Cousens to MCV. "We are a third of the way through the exercise, but with a return to profit, distribution improved and our portfolio taking shape nicely, we can really start to look forward." Codemasters was established in 1985 by brothers Richard and David Darling and enjoyed great success in the 8-bit computer market in the UK, with a wide range of original budget titles and the Dizzy series. The company later enjoyed success in the 16-bit console era with franchises such as Micro Machines, Pete Sampras Tennis and Brian Lara Cricket. Modern console hits include continuing franchises such as TOCA Race Driver and Colin McRae Rally. The company has also branched out with an increasing range of PC titles such as Operation: Flashpoint and MMO title Archlord, also moving back into the original IP console game space. In December of last year, the company made the significant move of signing a North American distribution and sales agreement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The first titles to be released under the deal will be rally game DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road, role-playing game Overlord, horror themed action title Clive Barker’s Jericho and alternative history WWII real-time strategy Fall of Liberty.

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