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News | 11/25/2005 5:00 am EST

FUN to gain new majority shareholder
Englewood, CO’s Liberty Media Corp. has launched a bid to take a 51% stake of online game developer FUN Technologies plc. The plan involves Liberty Media creating a new Canadian-registered holding firm, dubbed New FUN, which will acquire all the currently issued shares of FUN Technologies, making it a subsidiary of New FUN. Liberty will then purchase 83.7 million pounds Sterling ($170 million) worth of New FUN’s to-be-issued shares, giving it 51% ownership of New FUN, as well as make a US$50 million ($58.5 million) cash payment to FUN Technologies. The plan still needs the approval of regulators in the U.K., as well as the sanction of FUN Technologies’ existing shareholders, who will either own or have first dibs on the remaining 49% of New FUN. FUN Technologies’ management has already come out in favour of the proposed deal. "This is a landmark achievement, both for FUN stakeholders and for the future prospects of FUN’s businesses," said Lorne Abony, FUN Technologies’ co-founder and CEO, in a media release. "We believe that this transaction will significantly enhance shareholder value in both the short and long term." Abony registered FUN Technologies in the U.K., but founded the company in Toronto and still runs it from there. Earlier this month, FUN Technologies announced a deal with U.K. specialty programming provider Flextech Television Ltd., which operates several channels in the U.K. including LivingTV, Challenge and Bravo. The firm will provide customized games for Flextech’s broadcast and online properties. FUN Technologies designs and builds skill-based games such as Bejeweled 2, Solitaire and Zuma for use on its own and other third-party web sites, as well as operating the world’s largest fantasy sports site, Fanball.com.

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