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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 16:18 GMT
Beckham game firm calls in receivers
Image from David Beckham soccer publicity material
The Beckham game is a Rage bestseller
The software company that makes the David Beckham Soccer Game has collapsed, with the loss of 77 jobs.

The company has got some exciting new games in progress

Hunter Kelly, Ernst and Young
Receivers have been appointed by Liverpool-based computer game firm Rage Software, ending hopes that a rescue package could be put together.

The Liverpool-based firm is now likely to be broken up, and any new games it is working on sold off.

The future of the remaining 85 staff will depend on the sale of the intellectual property rights of games currently in development.

Heavy investment

The company, which also has staff in Newcastle, Warrington, Bristol and Birmingham, has an annual turnover of 12.3m.

It raised 4.5m last year to finance the development of new games but delays in getting them to market meant it ran out of cash.

Hunter Kelly, of receivers Ernst and Young, said: "Rage has invested heavily in developing new games, but various delays have meant that they have not produced sufficient products to cover the levels of cost and infrastructure being incurred.

"The current financial circumstances of the company and insufficient income revenues have meant that we have had to make 74 redundancies with immediate effect.

"However, the company has got some exciting new games in progress, including exclusive licences with Lamborghini, Andy McNab and a follow-up to the successful Rocky game."

Overdraft withdrawn

He added: "We are intending to sell either individual design facilities or the intellectual property rights and given the quality of these assets and the interest already shown, we are looking for an early sale."

Trading in Rage shares was suspended on Tuesday, after the Bank of Scotland withdrew a 6m overdraft facility.

The Bank of Scotland withdrew the company's overdraft facility despite experts predicting the firm would be able to turn last year's 10m loss into a profit of more than 1m in the current financial year.

Beckham success

David Beckham Soccer generated more than a third of Rage's total revenues in the year to 30 June, with sales of 4.2m.

The arcade-style game, which allows players to try their hand at Beckham's trademark free kicks, can be played on Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance.

Rage also sells a game entitled "Go! Go! Beckham" in which the footballer is turned into a cartoon character.

The company hoped to build on that success with the launch of its Rocky game in November 2002.

By late October, Rage was forecasting that pre-orders for the game alone would be 650,000.

Pre-tax losses were cut from 17.1m in 2001 to 16.1m.


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See also:

14 Jan 03 | England
13 Jan 03 | Business
09 Jan 03 | Technology
20 Nov 02 | Business
21 Oct 02 | Business
28 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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