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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: Titus Takes Control of Interplay

20 Aug, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

French video game publisher Titus Interactive, which will release console games based on Top Gun and Robocop this fall, has taken majority control of Irvine-based Interplay Entertainment, which owns the video game rights to The Matrix and the best-selling Dungeons & Dragons Baldur’s Gate franchise, after exchanging a 336,070 convertible bonds for 6.68 million Titus shares last week. Titus now owns 51.53% of Interplay, compared to the 34% it owned in June, and still has an additional 383,354 convertibles.

"This purchase raises Titus Interactive's voting rights and will enable, during the Annual General Meeting in September, a re-election of the board and a takeover of Interplay by Titus Interactive," Titus said in a statement.

Several key Interplay executives are abandoning ship, as Interplay has not been able to find additional funding. Sources say that the company’s asking price is between $100 million and $120 million. Hong Kong telecommunications giant PCCWJ is no longer interested in the company, nor is THQ, which was rumored to be in talks with the company at one point.

Titus, which generates half its income from Europe and the rest from North America and Asia, expects to break even for its 2001-2002 fiscal year.

Neither Interplay nor Titus returned calls for this report.

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