Copyright 2004 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ November 28th 2004 ]

It could be one of the most glamorous partnerships in the world of entertainment: Bono, lead singer of U2, is sizing up the owner of Lara Croft, the busty computer games heroine. Troubled computer games publisher Eidos, which owns the Tomb Raider title, put itself on the block last summer after a series of profit warnings and delayed games launches. Sources say chief executive Mike McGarvey is keen to stage a management buyout, and has been talking to two venture capital funds. It was known that he was in talks with a third party, but it was assumed that would involve a sale.

The front-runner for the MBO is believed to be Elevation Partners, based in America’s Silicon Valley, in which Bono, whose real name is Paul David Hewson, became managing director in June. Elevation was established by Roger McNamee, a technology investor, and John Riccitiello, a former president of American computer games giant Electronics Arts, to invest $1bn into media and entertainment companies.

Eidos, which was a stock market darling with a £1bn market value at its peak, sank to £115m on Friday and is thought to be on sale at around £150m. It has five main games series including Championship Manager and its action adventure series. But it has gone through a bad spell and in June announced a strategic review to examine its options. At its annual meeting last week, it confirmed it was conducting due diligence with a small number of potential acquirers, but would not be drawn on details.

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