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City Slickers: Eidosh; Lara Croft makes bosses multi-millionaires.

CYBERBABE Lara Croft has become the darling of the stock market.

The star of the phenomenally popular Tomb Raider series of computer games has transformed the fortunes of parent company Eidos.

Last night shares in Eidos closed up 12 per cent on the back of an optimistic report by City analysts Goldman Sachs.

Their steady rise over the last year has made multi-millionaires of all six of the firm's board of directors

And that looks only the beginning - the serious bucks could be just around the corner.

Last September Eidos shares were changing hands for 660p. Last night they closed up 395p at a shade over pounds 36 per share.

The rise came after a very bullish report by City advisers Goldman Sachs put a price tag of pounds 53 on each share.

That was despite reporting that Eidos had turned in a "dreary" performance in its first quarter, which doesn't take into account the lucrative Christmas period when Eidos makes the bulk of its cash. Biggest winners are chairman Ian Livingstone and chief executive Charles Cornwall.

Livingstone's 536,581 shares and Cornwall's 570,581 shares mean that each director is now worth around pounds 20 million on their holding of ordinary share alone.

But they each have more than 100,000 incentive shares too, which could bring them tens of millions of pounds more in the years to come.

The massive hike in the Eidos share price has transformed the company from a stock market minnow into a biggish company with a market value of pounds 600 million and a workforce of nearly 600.

The other four members of the board who have cleaned up thanks to Lara are Jeremy Lewis, Simon Protheroe, Jeremy Heath-Smith and Mike McGarvey.

Heath-Smith is sitting on a holding valued at over pounds 5 million and has 40,000 incentive shares as well.

Finance director Lewis hasn't been at Eidos all that long but has already landed nearly 154,000 shares which he can buy at 783p and exercise in or after 2005.

But by then Eidos, or Eidosh as it's fast becoming known in the Square Mile, could be in the FTSE-100 index of Britain's leading companies.

SLICKER SAYS: Lara Croft is sexy, fearless and dynamic - a bit like Eidos really. We love this company and everyone involved with it deserves to do well. We tipped it at pounds 12 back in February so we're pretty chuffed too.

What's more, we're even more bullish than Goldman Sachs. We reckon the 17 million ordinary shares in issue at the moment are easily worth pounds 70 each, so wade in.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Bhoyrul, Anil; Hipwell, James
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 8, 1999
Words:435
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