Videogame coin call

Trion raises $70 mil in third round

Online videogame company Trion World Network has raised a monster $70 million third round of funding from sources including NBC U and Time Warner, while struggling Sumner Redstone-owned Midway Games is borrowing $40 million from the mogul’s own National Amusements to fund its slate through the end of the year.

Midway, which has consistently lost money since Redstone purchased it in 2004 and is currently chaired by the mogul’s daughter Shari, will sell up to $40 million of its accounts receivable to National Amusements through Dec. 31 in order to pay for manufacturing its new games, which include “Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe,” “TNA Impact,” and “Blitz: The League II.”

It’s the second loan this year to Midway from National Amusements, an exhibition chain that also serves as an investment vehicle for the Redstone clan. In March, it gave Midway a $90 million credit facility. Sumner Redstone owns approximately 90% of Midway’s stock.

In December, Shari Redstone took over as chairman. She fired former CEO David Zucker in March. The company is still looking for his replacement. Meanwhile, its stock value has continued to fall. On Monday, it closed down 11% at $2.48, giving Midway a total value of just $232 million.

Trion, meanwhile, raised $70 million in its third round. Media giants Time Warner and Peacock Equity — a joint venture of GE and NBC U — all participated again after investing in the second round. Other major investors included Act II Capital, DCM and Trinity Ventures. Total raised by the company is now over $100 million.

Trion, which has been building its business for two years, will publish and run videogames entirely online. Rather than sell discs, it will distribute and frequently update games from servers. It is currently building a massive multi-player online fantasy game to compete with “World of Warcraft” that will likely be its launch title next year, as well as a title being developed in concert with a new, undisclosed series at NBC U-owned Sci-Fi Channel.

“We had raised enough for platform development, but now we are able to productize it and scale so we can publish a large number of different videogame titles,” CEO Lars Buttler said.

Trion is hoping to use its online platform to regularly update and expand its games, some of which will be made in partnership with traditional media companies.

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