During the third and fourth quarters of 2005, Austrian games developer / publisher, JoWooD, was having another in a long line of rough periods. A surprise and very public split over the Stargate license with developer Perception resulted in a petition to have JoWooD declared bankrupt (which was rejected) and an eventually successful restructuring plan carrying over from 2004 was dampening their Q3 financials, resulting in the reduction in staff and closure of several internal development studios, including JoWooD Vienna (Neighbors from Hell).
Around this time, Q3/Q4 2005, it appears JoWooD entered into negotiations with Silverstar Holdings, a publicly-traded holdings firm who focuses on acquiring controlling interest in strategic companies within the electronic entertainment industry (counting Empire Interactive and Strategy First among their brands). Considering Silverstar’s stated corporate strategy, a full or partial acquisition of JoWooD appeared to be in the cards, only, something seems to have soured along the way, as JoWooD announced a European co-publishing agreement for Gothic III and other titles with Koch Media, a round of successful debt restructuring and a sudden resurgence in stock price. JoWooD seemed to be out of the woods yet again, seemingly thanks to the help of Koch Media, though details of the agreement(s) between them are unknown at this time.
Fast forward to January 2006, where Silverstar Holdings announced via SEC filings that it has filed suit against JoWooD Software Productions AG for breach of contract and seeks restitution for damages in the amount of $850,000 for expenses incurred in connection with the unsuccessful acquisition of JoWooD shares during their discussions the previous year. JoWooD was unsuccessful in having the case dismissed and the hearing appears to have been delayed until this week according to Silverstar Holding’s CEO Clive Kabatznik who states, “We had a hearing in Vienna on Tuesday and have a final hearing scheduled for mid March. We will see what the Austrian legal system will decide.”
More to follow as information becomes available.
Related: JoWooD | Silverstar Holdings | Koch Media