ENTERTAINMENT GROUP PYRAMID SAIMIRA BUYS UK GAME CO

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Entertainment group Pyramid Saimira has announced that it had bought majority stake in a UK-based company which has developed gaming software for platforms which include Sony's Playstation, Nintendo DS and Microsoft's XBOX. The acquisition of Aurona Technologies in an all-cash deal by cinema-chain operator Pyramid Saimira Theatres (PSTL), the listed arm of the group, marks its entry into the animation and gaming industry, group managing director P S Saminathan said here.

He declined to disclose the value of the acquisition or ownership details. Aurona CEO Santosh Pillai will continue in his role and take over as director of Pyramid Saimira Production Services, the movie and TV production unit.

"Since our group has access to a huge content library, we will be able to cross-exploit the content properties," Mr. Saminathan said.

With a development centre in Hyderabad and an office in Los Angeles, Aurona has IPs on six mobile games in the US and potential IPs in racing, lifestyle and first person shooter gaming.

The Pyramid Saimira group planned to raise $1 billion by the end of 2008 through a mix of debt and equity, listing its production and cinema advertising units in India and the distribution unit overseas. Dimples Cine Advertising was bought by Pyramid in November 2008. Singapore-based subsidiary Pyramid Saimira Entertainment, the distribution arm, is likely to raise $200 million and may be listed either on the LSE or the London Alternative Investment Market.

PSTL, which operates some 700 screens, announced earlier this month that it plans to raise up to $400 million overseas through depository receipts or convertible bonds.

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