BONNIER BUILDS STAKE IN EIDOS PLC
Copyright 2004 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ April 24th 2004 ]

Eidos, the computer-games publisher best known in the City for its "Lara Croft" game, has demanded that a leading broker reveal the identity of a secretive investor who has amassed a 12m stake in the firm. Rumours of an imminent takeover bid for Eidos are widespread, as is speculation that Robert Bonnier, the controversial former chief executive of Scoot.com, is building a stake.

Last week GNI, the London-based derivatives broker, announced that it had acquired 7.2m shares shares in the computer-games company. Eidos has now demanded that GNI reveal on whose behalf it owns the 5 per cent stake. Under Section 212 of the Companies Act, companies or individuals holding stock in a company must confirm the identity of beneficial owners if served with a "212 notice". Brokers say that GNI may have bought the shares to hedge a position possibly taken by Bonnier via a so-called "contract for diff erence" (CFD).

Bonnier, a former investment banker at UBS, has used CFDs to take major positions in a number of companies, including Regus, the property company, and The Innovation Group, a financial software firm. Confusion last year over the size and nature of Bonnier's stake in Regus led to an unprecedented rebuke from the Takeover Panel and sparked an ongoing Financial Services Authority investigation into whether a "false or misleading" impression was created about the value of Regus shares. Shares in Eidos rose by 5p on Friday to close the week at 170p.

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