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San acquires Morpheme and Just Add Monsters

Two of Argonaut's studios go to former CEO; fate of Edgware studio undecided.

Former Argonaut CEO Jez San has acquired two of the company's studios, with Cambridge-based Just Add Monsters and mobile developer Morpheme both being bought by the veteran developer.

The two businesses have been sold to companies controlled by San, according to a statement from Argonaut's administrators, Asher Miller and David Rubin, which was made to the City this afternoon.

The sales come only days after the publicly quoted firm was formally placed into administration, with shares in the company being suspended on the London Stock Exchange and around half of the staff being laid off a fortnight ago.

"We are pleased to announce the sale of these two businesses as going concerns," Miller said in today's statement. "This has saved over 40 jobs as well as the substantial employment claims that would have arisen had the sales not been achieved."

The fate of Argonaut's main studio in Edgware remains unclear today, although Miller says that the administrators remain "hopeful of achieving a sale," and negotiations are underway with a number of different parties. The Sheffield studio, however, shut its doors late last week.

Just Add Monsters is currently working on a next-generation console title that has attracted significant interest from publishers - although some of them are currently baulking at the asking price for signing the title, according to comments from insiders at several key publishers.

San's purchase of the two studios will ensure that he remains a key figure in the UK development industry, in which he has been involved for over 20 years since the founding of Argonaut in 1982.

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