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Eidos Interactive Ltd. was a video game developer and publisher based in Englandmarker. It is now part of Square Enix Europe.

Its best-known game series include Tomb Raider, Hitman, Commandos, Deus Ex, Legacy of Kain, Thief, Timesplitters, and Fear Effect. The company maintains offices all around the world, including the United Statesmarker, Canadamarker, Germanymarker, Francemarker, Australia and Japanmarker.

Eidos officially became part of Square Enix on 22 April 2009. Following a reorganization of Square Enix's European operations, Eidos is slated to be consolidated into a new branch, named Square Enix Europe. The Eidos Interactive brand will cease to be used for game publishing thereafter.

History

Beginnings and company growth

Eidos plc, later to become the parent company of Eidos Interactive, was founded in 1990 as a company specialising in video compression and non-linear editing systems, particularly for Acorn Archimedes computers, and floated on the London Stock Exchange.

Following a series of rights issues and a strongly rising share price, Eidos plc undertook a series of acquisitions in the games sector, starting with the acquisition of the PC games companies Domark Group Limited (Domark), Simis and Big Red Software in 1995 through a reverse takeover. At the time, Domark was known for 3D Construction Kit, Championship Manager, Hard Drivin', and many other games. Domark (by far the largest of the set), Simis and Big Red were combined into Eidos Interactive.

In 1996, with the success of the Sony PlayStation imminent, Eidos plc acquired CentreGold plc (which included US Gold and Centresoft). Centresoft was sold back in an MBO. US Gold included the valuable asset of Core Design (probably best known for Tomb Raider, Chuck Rock, Curse of Enchantia, Heimdall, Rick Dangerous and E-Motion). A further series of acquisitions and skilful use of capital meant that Eidos plc (now almost entirely consisting of Eidos Interactive) was the fastest growing company in the world in the 1990s, with the share price rising over 400 times from its 1993 low to its 1999 high.

The company was planning to bring out a RISC OS powered games console prior to the collapse of Acorn Computers as a vendor and the sale of the OS to Pace Micro Technology.

In February 2007, Eidos acquired Rockpool Games, along with its two sister companies Ironstone Partners and SoGoPlay.

Takeover by Sci

On 3 August 2004, the Wall Street Journal reported that Eidos was in preliminary discussions with a small number of companies in relation of a possible business combinations. In early March 2005, Eidos admitted that cash reserves had dwindled to £11.9m during the second half of 2004, and pre-tax losses had grown to £29m.

On 21 March 2005, Eidos received a takeover bid from Elevation Partners, the private equity firm owned by former Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello and with a number of notable partners, including U2's lead singer Bono. This takeover valued the company at £71m ($135m), and would inject £23m in order to keep the company solvent in the short term.

On 22 March, Eidos received a second takeover bid from the British games manufacturer SCi Entertainment. Sci offered £74m ($139m), and tabled a restructuring plan to cut £14m from annual costs. To fund this takeover, SCi proposed to sell £60m worth of stock. Eventually, in late April, Elevation Partners formally withdrew its offer, leaving the way clear for SCi. The takeover was finalized on 16 May 2005.

Since the Sci purchase, the vast majority of the old Eidos management have been let go. SCi left their Batterseamarker Office and moved into the old Eidos office on the second floor of Wimbledon Bridge House, 1 Hartfield Road, Wimbledonmarker. Eidos announced on 15 February 2007 that they will open a new studio in Montrealmarker, Quebec, Canada responsible for "new undisclosed next-generation projects". Eidos Montreal is developing a new game in the Deus Ex franchise.

Ian Livingstone was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for "Services to the Computer Games Industry" in the New Year Honours List 2006 as was Jane Cavanagh in the New Year Honours List 2007.

On 4 September 2007, the board of Sci Entertainment confirmed recent speculation that the company has been approached with a view to making an offer. On 10 January 2008 SCi announced take over and/or merger talks had been halted. As a result, the share price dropped by over 50%. Major investors called for the resignation of key personnel, including Jane Cavanagh, over this issue as well as delays to key titles. On January 18, 2008 CEO Jane Cavanagh, Bill Ennis and Rob Murphy left the company.

Eidos's parent company, Sci, revealed its 2008 financial report. Losses were at £100 million, but new CEO Phil Rogers claimed this was only due to the reconstructing plans. On September 19 2008 Eidos opened a Shanghai based studio consisting of a small team to build up relations in Asia. On 3 December 2008, Sci changed its name to Eidos Plc (the name of Eidos, prior to the Sci takeover), and also changed its London Stock Exchange ticker symbol from SEG to EID.

Part of Square Enix Europe

In February 2009, Square Enix reached an agreement to purchase Eidos for £84.3 million, pending shareholder approval, with an initial aim of fully buying Eidos on 6 May 2009. The date was brought forward and Square Enix officially took over Eidos on 22 April 2009.

Although Square Enix said earlier that it would let Eidos Interactive remain as it is currently and not meddle in its internal affairs, Square Enix recently announced that it would be stopping game publishing under the Eidos brand and renaming it into Square Enix Europe. Eidos Interactive will most likely cease publishing in 2010.

Studios

Current



Part-owned



Defunct



Games

Alisal Matters (TBA)





References

  1. gamesindustry.biz - Square Enix revamps Europe operation // News
  2. Square Enix Lets Eidos Be Eidos - Eidos - Kotaku


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