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Time Warner Talks 'Incremental' Game Biz Acquisitions

Calling the acquisition of Lego: Star Wars creator Traveller's Tales "wildly successful", Time Warner CFO John Martin says the company is interested in further game biz acquisitions that are likely to happen "incrementally" -- implying the firm's c
Ideal economic climate for big media game biz acquisitions? Check. "Wildly successful" prior acquisition of studio Traveller's Tales? Check. Interest in expanding game industry presence? Check, and it looks like Time Warner might be the next major company to make a move. According to a Dow Jones report reprinted on financial site CNN Money, Time Warner CFO John Martin recently discussed the success of the company's acquisition of Traveller's Tales (Lego: Star Wars, Lego: Batman) at a financial conference, indicating that the game business "is an area that intrigues us." Although Martin said he's not looking at anything specific "of any scale that we're going to go out and acquire," he noted, "I think it's going to be done incrementally." The suggestion of increments makes Time Warner an even more likely front-runner for an acquisition of British publisher Eidos, as it's twice increased its existing stake in the company over recent months, most recently purchasing an additional 10 million shares in mid-December. Eidos has seen less-than stellar financial performance over the last few years -- Martin's comments come alongside the company's 25 percent share price decrease and reduced year-end forecasts beside disappointing sales of Tomb Raider: Underworld. A recent name change by its parent company from SCi to Eidos, aimed at maximizing the company's central brands, drove widespread speculation that the company was framing itself for a buyout -- one in which both Electronic Arts and Ubisoft were also rumored to be interested. Time Warner, however, has continued to invest in the company despite its periods of poor performance, twice amending "standstill" agreements with Eidos that have constrained its stake in the company.

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