Lara Croft creator SCi gets cash boost

LONDON Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:21am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Lara Croft creator SCi Entertainment SEG.L said on Friday it raised 60 million pounds ($119 million) as property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz and media group Warner Bros (TWX.N) bought big chunks of a share placing.

The new shares were priced at 35 pence per share, a 38 percent discount to Thursday's closing middle market price, SCi said in a statement.

Tchenguiz's Thorson investment vehicle is expected to end up as SCi's biggest shareholder with a roughly 22 percent stake, with Warner its second-biggest, at 20 percent following the placing, Chief Executive Phil Rogers told Reuters.

Shares of SCi, which created the heroine of the Tomb Raider games, sank to a 5-year-low after reporting in February it needed 50 million pounds to survive, after the cost of scrapping a series of ill-conceived computer games.

SCi shares eased 0.3 percent to 46 pence by 4:37 a.m. EDT, valuing the firm at about 40 million pounds. The stock hit a peak of 620p in March 2006.

"I want more distribution muscle in North America," said Rogers.

"Boxed products. Retail relationships. It's a distribution drive, to grow top-line revenues. We won't give targets, it's too granular, but the U.S. should be 50 percent of my revenues and it's not now."

Tchenguiz is expected to be a financial investor, while Warner will help SCi's North American drive, Rogers added.

SCi also said in the statement that current trading is in line with expectations, and was on track to save 14 million pounds from a restructuring that included the 25 percent workforce cut that it announced in February.

The placing is fully underwritten by Citigroup, KBC Peel Hunt and Lloyds TSB Bank plc, SCi's statement said.

(Reporting by Hsu Chuang Khoo; Editing by Louise Ireland)