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Silverstar Holdings To Acquire Empire Interactive

Technology holding group Silverstar Holdings Ltd. has announced a major offer to European publisher Empire Interactive PLC (FlatOut 2, Taito Legends) to acquire 63% of Empire’s shares.
Technology holding group Silverstar Holdings Ltd. has announced a major offer to European publisher Empire Interactive PLC (FlatOut 2, Taito Legends) to acquire 63% of Empire’s shares. Long the subject of buyout rumours which have included publishers Red Octane and Vivendi, and despite slipping into loss earlier this year, the deal would see cash payment of 7p (approx. $0.13) per share on closing or an earn-out alternative where the initial payment will be 4.9p (approx. $0.09) per share with a further 5.1p (approx. $0.094) per share payable subject to certain conditions on October 31, 2007. In total, the maximum amount due on closing would see Empire receiving approximately $7.2 million, or, should even Empire's management elect the earn-out alternative, the maximum amount due on closing would be $6.15 million, with an additional $6.4 million due in a second payment on the 2007 date. Additionally, Silverstar has offered further incentive payments due on April 30, 2008, subject to Empire achieving certain EBITDA targets for the year ended June 30, 2007. On the acquisition, Silverstar CEO Clive Kabatznik said, “This is a landmark transaction for Silverstar. Empire has approximately $50 million in trailing revenues during its last 15-month reporting period. This acquisition combined with Strategy First propels Silverstar into the leading rank of independent interactive entertainment software publishers. The acquisition will provide consistent revenue growth over the next few quarters." He added, "We look forward to working with the Empire management team to aggressively grow their business and the business of Strategy First, both organically and through future acquisitions. We remain determined to create greater value for our shareholders. This acquisition is a main component of our long-term strategic plan." Under Silverstar Holdings, publisher Strategy First (Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns, Galactic Civilization) has itself moved to make acquisitions, most recently absorbing developer Malfador Machinations (Space Empires V), and at the end of 2005 penned a deal for digital distribution over Valve's Steam platform. Empire Interactive, backed with an 18 year history in the games publishing business, has developed and published a number of titles for console platforms in the US, Europe and Asia, most recently with titles such as Starsky & Hutch, Big Mutha Truckers, Ford Racing and FlatOut. In addition, its Xplosiv imprint has brought a number of budget titles to Europe, including an assortment of retro collections from Taito.

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