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Eidos Sees Game Delay, Knock-On For Ubisoft Shares

Officials from British publisher Eidos Interactive have announced that they the company is delaying the release of soccer strategy title Championship Manager 5, bu...
Officials from British publisher Eidos Interactive have announced that they the company is delaying the release of soccer strategy title Championship Manager 5, but that the company is still 'hoping' to have it released before Christmas. Previous iterations of Championship Manager have been the best selling PC games of all time in the UK, outselling even The Sims, but this year Eidos faces major competition from Football Manager 2005 – which is developed by original Championship Manager creators Sports Interactive. Although creating the first Championship Manager without Sports Interactive has no doubt proven an arduous task, this is the second major release to be delayed at the last minute by Eidos. The short delay of ShellShock: ‘Nam 67 earlier in the year caused the company’s shares to plummet, making it particularly susceptible to takeover bids – an outcome which many analysts believe was intentional. The fact that Eidos' press release, announcing the delay, makes it clear that the company is still looking for a buyer will do nothing to silence the conspiracy theories. The most obvious evidence of this is the effect Eidos’ announcement has had on Ubisoft’s share price, which fell to a seventeen month low today, amid fears that the company was about to embark on a costly acquisition of the UK publisher. This happened even though Electronic Arts and THQ have been more strongly linked with Eidos in recent weeks. Ubisoft officials would give no comment on the situation but Exane BNP Paribas analyst Bruce Mari has commented: "Ubisoft is one of the serious contenders for the acquisition of Eidos, but a takeover may not be that positive for Ubi, both in financial and operational terms. Despite a recent fall in Eidos's share price, Ubi would certainly offer a premium, making the deal costly and dilutive." The City seems particularly leery of any possible deal involving Ubisoft because of the recent delay of several of the French publisher’s own titles, including Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Far Cry: Instincts and Playboy: The Mansion.

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