Warner Bros. to buy stake in SCi

MUMBAI: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. will make an investment in SCi Entertainment Group plc, the parent company of publishing label Eidos Interactive Ltd, representing 10.3 percent of the company's enlarged share capital.

Additionally, Warner Bros. and SCi have entered into an agreement for licensing and distribution of games based on select Warner Bros. Entertainment properties, asserts an official release.

A part of the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) has granted the licenses to SCi for the comic book version of Batman, the Looney Tunes, select titles from the Hanna-Barbera catalog and television properties The OC, Monster Allergy, Loonatics Unleashed and Legion of Super Heroes.

In addition, Eidos and Warner Bros. have entered into a primary distribution agreement under which Warner Bros. will provide warehousing, logistics, merchandising and media buying services in the United States to Eidos. Eidos will continue to run, through its US publishing office, all other aspects of its US operations including manufacturing, sales, marketing and PR, adds the release.

Warner Bros. President Kevin Tsujihara said, "Investing in SCi further solidifies our commitment to the rapidly growing interactive and gaming space. This deal is consistent with our core strategy of delivering high quality entertainment based on some of the world's best-loved brands for all formats and channels. We look forward to working with SCi to build games the fans of these brands will truly enjoy."

SCi chief executive Jane Cavanagh said, "These agreements represent a further step in SCi's development as one of the world's leading publishers of interactive entertainment. The licensed properties extend and strengthen our product portfolio through globally recognised titles such as Batman, Looney Tunes including brands such as Bugs Bunny and the classic Hanna-Barbera catalogue including brands such as Tom and Jerry.

"The additional investment provides us with the firepower to accelerate growth initiatives such as increasing our development capacity and our new media and online strategies," she added.

Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment has licensed the rights for selected intellectual properties to SCi. SCi's publishing label Eidos will develop videogames based on the properties. The licenses are:

– Batman. The license enables Eidos to create games based the on comic book version of the DC Comics' renowned super hero.

– Looney Tunes. Eidos will create games using the library of Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner and Speedy Gonzales and more, for handheld platforms.

– Hanna-Barbera catalog. Eidos will develop up to twelve games based on a number of individual characters in the classic Hanna-Barbera catalogue including Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, Wacky Races, Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.

– The OC. The license is for the interactive rights to the long running global TV series The OC, based around the lives of teenagers in Orange County, California.

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