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Final curtain for Argonaut as Edgware studio closes

Shareholders angered by San's buyout as remainder of Edgware staff are laid off.

One of Britain's longest-established developers appears to have reached the end of the line, with reports indicating that Argonaut's administrators have shut down the firm's Edgware head offices and made the remainder of the staff redundant.

The news comes on the heels of Friday's announcement that former Argonaut CEO Jez San, who resigned last week, has purchased two of the company's studios - Cambridge based Just Add Monsters, and mobile game developer Morpheme.

That announcement, which was issued by the firm's administrators Asher Miller and David Rubin late on Friday afternoon, included a comment from Miller stating that the team remained "hopeful of achieving a sale" of the Edgware studio, and was in negotiations with a number of parties.

However, it would appear that the remainder of the staff in Edgware were made redundant on Friday, joining a large number of staff who were laid off when the company originally announced that it was in financial difficulties two weeks ago, and staff from the Sheffield studio who were laid off a week previously.

A number of former employees have told our sister site gamesindustry.biz that no redundancy payment has been made to the staff who were laid off, while several claim that they are also owed unpaid wages.

The fate of licenses and other assets attached to the Edgware studio is unclear at present, with the administrators presumably still seeking purchasers for them; it's strongly rumoured, however, that Jez San may be making a bid for the assets related to Argonaut's signed project for British publisher SCi, with a view to rescuing the title and continuing its development under the auspices of a new company.

The speed of San's acquisition of Just Add Monsters and Morpheme after resigning as CEO of Argonaut has raised hackles among some Argonaut shareholders, who are openly expressing suspicion at the timetable of events leading to his purchase of the subsidiaries from the administrators.

However, despite outspoken discontent from several shareholders, as yet no evidence of wrongdoing has been presented, and it's not believed that any investigation into the situation is currently being considered by the British financial regulatory bodies.

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.

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