British publisher Eidos Interactive has announced its intention to purchase Danish development studio IO Interactive, creator of the Hitman series of games, along with rising profits in the first half of its financial year.

The purchase of IO is expected to be completed by the end of the month, and sees Eidos handing out an up front payment of £23 million (€36 million) in cash and stock, along with a payment of up to £5 million (€7.5m) linked to four year performance of the studio.

IO, whose last game in the Hitman series sold over three million units, joins a line-up of internal Eidos studios which includes Crystal Dynamics and Ion Storm Austin in the USA along with Core Design and the recently founded Beautiful Game Studios here in the UK.

News of the acquisition came along with the announcement of Eidos' results for the six months ended December 31st. During the period, the company saw its post-tax profits rise 42 per cent, despite an 11.5 per cent drop in turnover.

The fall in turnover was attributed to the underperformance of two titles as well as the weak US dollar and, apparently, US hardware sales falling short of market forecasts. However, operating profit was up by some 30 per cent, representing a successful first half for the company, and Eidos believes that it is on track to meet expectations for the full year through to June 30th.

Along with the Hitman series, IO Interactive was also responsible for the surprisingly enjoyable Freedom Fighters, published by Electronic Arts last year.

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