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Infogrames grabs Gremlin for £22.9 million

French games publisher takes over ailing British developer

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French games developer Infogrames has bought loss-making British games company Gremlin for £22.9 million in cash. Gremlin became a well-known name in the UK gaming community with its innovative sports titles, and went on to become popular with investors when it floated on the British stock exchange in July 1997. However, a lack of top-selling titles in the face of aggressive competition from other UK games publishers, most notably Eidos and Electronic Arts' EA Sports brand, saw Gremlin's fortunes begin to fade. Its most recent set of results, for the first half of the current financial year, saw the company post a loss of £799,000, well down on the £1.7 million profit it made for the same period the year before. During the last six months of calendar 1998, growing concern that Gremlin might no longer be able to generate sufficient sales to balance its high marketing and development costs pushed the company's shares down 60 per cent. The picture improved after Gremlin admitted earlier this year that it was in talks with possible buyers, including Infogrames, with which it signed a European distribution agreement last year. ®

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