British publisher SCi now appears to be closer to victory in its attempt to acquire Tomb Raider
publisher Eidos Interactive. The company's bid has gained a new boost with the news that Merrill Lynch Investment Management (MLIM) has given its support to SCi’s £79 million ($149m) all-shares offer.
This new support gives SCi the support of 26.3 percent of Eidos’ share holders, effectively baulking the rival £71 million ($134m) cash bid from Elevation Partners, the private equity firm whose board members include U2 frontman Bono and ex-Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello.
The battle for control of the company is still closely fought, though, with Elevation having the support of Eidos' current board of directors, and SCi still being Schroder Investment Management, Eidos’ largest shareholder,
However, since Elevation’s bid has been made through a scheme of arrangement, SCi’s control of more than 25 percent of Eidos’ shares means that they can now block the Elevation offer. In order to continue, Elevation will need to alter its terms so that SCi will need to gain more than 50 percent of shareholders’ support.
SCi CEO Jane Cavanagh met with Eidos board members recently, and is believed to have outlined her plans to drastically alter the company’s structure – thought to be the main reason behind the board members’ support for Elevation.