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SCi Discusses Continued Takeover Talks, 2006 Prospects

UK-headquartered SCi Entertainment Group, the recent buyers of Tomb Raider creator Eidos Interactive, have announced a trading update to the London Stock Exchange,...
UK-headquartered SCi Entertainment Group, the recent buyers of Tomb Raider creator Eidos Interactive, have announced a trading update to the London Stock Exchange, revealing a number of updates on both a possible takeover of the company, the financial performance of SCi, and forthcoming products from the company. Regarding the repeated rumors that SCi may be acquired by a third party, the trading update simply commented: "In October 2005, the Board of SCi announced that it had received approaches that may or may not lead to an offer for the Group. The Board remains in discussions and will update shareholders as to any developments when appropriate." SCi went on to make comments on revenue, if not specific profit and loss, for the first six months of the financial year, revealing £40 million ($71.3 million) in sales in the period up to December 31, 2005, apparently "approximately £15 million [$26.8 million] better than the Group's internal budget." These sales above expectations arose primarily from the continued Eidos distribution of Lego Star Wars, for PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC and GBA, as well as Gamecube, from original commissioner and now Traveller's Tales acquired Giant Interactive. According to SCi, over 3 million units of Lego Star Wars have now been sold since its first launch in April 2005. The PSP version of soccer management simulator Championship Manager was also cited as a highlight. Looking forward, SCi particularly highlighted the launch of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend, which continues development at Bay Area-based Crystal Dynamics, and whose debut is scheduled to occur before the end-of-July financial year end for the firm. It also announced a PSP version of the title, to be launched in 'Summer 2006', as well as confirming rumors of "a special edition of Tomb Raider to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of Lara Croft." Finally, the company announced a co-publishing deal with Giant Entertainment to publish a new game based on Bionicle, one of Lego's most successful toy franchises, following the success of Lego Star Wars. The product is planned for launch in SCi's 2007 financial year, ending July 2006, and it was noted that, since it is under a co-publishing arrangement, SCi will earn a higher margin per unit than under the distribution arrangements for Lego Star Wars.

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