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Industry rumour links News Corp to Eidos as SCi takes stock market crown

Rumour mill turns once more as developers leak signs of an imminent takeover.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

British publisher Eidos Plc may have found a buyer at last, with a number of UK industry sources indicating that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is set to acquire the firm - even as rival firm SCi overtakes Eidos' market cap on the London Stock Exchange.

Eidos has been publicly seeking a buyer for several months, and has confirmed repeatedly that it is in negotiations with a number of parties - but several rival game publishers are believed to have dropped their bids for the company.

The firm's strong line-up of intellectual property, which includes the Hitman, Deus Ex and Tomb Raider franchises, may have attracted interest from outside the industry - including News Corp, which has openly stated that it is keen to make acquisitions in the videogames sector.

Although the exact progress of the negotiations over Eidos' future are shrouded in secrecy, multiple UK industry sources have this morning told that they believe a deal is imminent - and that Murdoch's media empire is the buyer.

The speculation - which is, it must be stressed, largely unsubstantiated - is based on a number of moves at the company's development studios, which are reportedly in the throes of preparing themselves for presentations to the company's new owners.

Eidos could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Meanwhile, with the ongoing uncertainty over the future of the publisher driving its share price down, Eidos has seen rival UK publisher SCi overtaking it on the London Stock Exchange - with the two South London firms swapping positions in the market capitalisation rankings at the end of last week.

SCi, whose share price has risen consistently for several months thanks to the strong performance of key titles such as the Conflict series, well-respected management and a significant degree of speculation on the part of hedge funds, is now the UK's largest publisher in market cap terms.

The share price growth spurt which drove SCi to finally overtake Eidos came as a result of heavy investment in the company's stock by companies including Cantor Fitzgerald and Man Financial, and a positive market response to the announcement of an extension to the publisher's North American distribution deal with Take Two Interactive.

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