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Eidos confirms takeover talks

Lara Croft could fall into French hands

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Eidos, publisher of the Tomb Raider computer game series starring the pneumatic Lara Croft, saw its share price soar today after confirming it was in takeover talks.

"The company is currently in the early stages of discussions which may or may not lead to an offer for the whole of the issued share capital of Eidos," it said in a statement this morning.

By end of play on the stock market today, the UK company's share price had shot up 28 per cent to 550 pence.

The announcement fuelled rumours in the city that Eidos was the target of one of the French software houses - either Infogrames Entertainment or Havas Interactive.

The move would signal a u-turn for Eidos chiefs. Last week Michael McGarvey, Eidos CEO, told financial newswire AFX he was opposed to the company being bought.

"I think at this stage of the game we're going to shy away from [a takeover] because this management team is committed to carrying this business forward, and we can continue to convince shareholders that there's long-term value in this business," said McGarvey.

"We've tended to be more of an aggressor in consolidating rather than someone who's going to be consolidated."

Last week Eidos reported a loss of £27 million for the year to March 31, and that sales had dropped nine per cent to £52.2 million for Q4. It also predicts a weak year ahead. ®

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