Infogrames buys Philips Multimedia

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BRUSSELS -- French multimedia software company Infogrames is planning to buy the multimedia division of Dutch electronics giant Philips, one of its biggest minority shareholders. The two companies signed a letter of intent last Friday to transfer the multimedia software publishing and distribution activities to Infogrames.

The move will make Infogrames "the strongest European entertainment company in interactive publishing," according to a Philips statement. Philips and Infogrames have worked together since the early 1990s. They have developed numerous software titles including International Tennis Open, Chaos Control, Asterix, Marco Polo and Shaolin's road.

Since 1993, Philips has been buying shares in Infogrames Entertainment. By 1996 its minority stake had risen to 13.2%. The deal outlined on Friday will increase the minority stake to between 20-25%, according to a Philips Media spokeswoman. Philips will also receive a cash payment for its division, but neither company would reveal its size.

The main operational advantage of the deal to Infogrames will be the addition of Philips Media's powerful European distribution network, explains the company's chairman and CEO Bruno Bonnell: "With this transfer, Infogrames is able to develop a pan-European distribution strategy," he says.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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