LARA CROFT FIRM
Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com |
Source The Times |
[ December 9th 2001 ]
Interactive has hired Kroll and Control Risks,
the corporate detective agencies, to search for
the $55m it had invested in Express.com, an American
company that collapsed earlier this year. Eidos
has instructed lawyers to examine if there is
a basis for legal action after initial investigations
failed to establish what happened to the cash.
1999, Eidos, whose market value had risen to more
than £1 billion from £161m earlier in the year,
paid $55m (£32m) for 19.96% of Maximum Holdings,
a Los Angeles company that specialised in interactive
video games. Maximum had already entered into
a merger agreement with DVD Express, an internet
company whose main business was the sale of DVDs.
stake in the combined entity, which was renamed
Express.com, was 10.2%. Express was expected to
float on Nasdaq at a value of $2 billion in 2000.
This never came about. On March 7 this year Express
filed for bankruptcy protection under chapter
11 after spending all its cash in just 16 months.
At the time the Eidos board said it was "monitoring
the situation closely."
is now thought to be close to heading towards
chapter 7 liquidation. Eidos says it is undertaking
further investigations to better understand the
companyís "cash burn."
does not understand how the money could have been
used so fast, given the business plan it bought
into and the regular checks it undertook. It is
determined to get to the bottom of the mystery
with the help of forensic accountants and corporate
detectives. An Eidos spokesman said at the weekend:
"We continue to monitor our position with regard
to Express.com. The company will not comment on
courses of action, but will take whatever steps
are in the best interests of shareholders."
bought into Express at the peak of the dotcom
boom, when the British company was a stock-market
darling. But from a worth of well over £1 billion,
the companyís value has fallen to £231m.
which became famous for the Lara Croft game character,
hoped to use Express to distribute and promote
its games. Express had already built an internet
entertainment portal attracting 3.5m visitors
a month. Eidos was only netting 380,000 on its
this year, Eidos, which has a dual listing on
Nasdaq, reported reduced first-quarter losses
and made an upbeat statement about 2002. It stands
to benefit from an expected upturn in the market
as the next generation of consoles is launched.
Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have all brought
out new systems in America and Eidos is gearing
up for what it hopes will be a busy Christmas
and figures courtesy of The Times.