Conglom in talks to buy stake in 'Croft' creator

Time Warner is looking to invest in the vidgame biz.

Conglom is in negotiations to buy a minority stake in British publisher Eidos, maker of the “Lara Croft” games, and its parent company, Sci Entertainment. Interest likely would be managed by Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Based on Sci’s closing price on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, a rumored 10% stake for Time Warner would cost at least $68 million.

TW is believed to have considered a full acquisition of Eidos before negotiations led the parties to settle on a minority share.

Partnering with Eidos could be a boon for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the studio’s nascent videogame division. While WBIE has started to produce its own games, it needs the help of another publisher to distribute them. Its most recent release, “Justice League Heroes,” was co-published by Eidos, a deal that may have brought the two companies together.

While Disney has been expanding its Buena Vista Games division and Sony Pictures owns vidgame company Sony Online Entertainment, Time Warner could become the first major media conglom to buy a stake in an outside publisher since TW itself briefly owned Atari in the mid-’90s.

Sci Entertainment acquired Eidos last year and now uses the “Lara Croft” publisher’s name as its consumer brand.

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