Fans of MicroProse Inc.'s F-15 Eagle Strike II fighter plane video game will now have the chance to buy into the action.
The fast-growing Hunt Valley-based developer and publisher of entertainment software and computer games revealed plans yesterday to join the ranks of the nation's publicly owned companies.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, MicroProse said that its initial public offering of 1.5 million common shares is expected to raise about $13 million.
The company said in its filing with the SEC that the proceeds willgo toward debt repayment, potential acquisitions and working capital. Company officials declined to say any more about the offering, noting that SEC rules greatly limit what they can say during the registration period.
According to the filing, another 500,000 shares will be sold on the public markets by current MicroProse shareholders. This includes the sale of 250,000 shares by the company's founder and chairman, John W. Stealey. The proposed sale would reduce Mr. Stealey's holdings in the company from 81.6 percent to 59 percent.
MicroProse has applied to have the shares listed on NASDAQ under the symbol MPRS. They are expected to sell for between $7 and $9 each through Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. and Piper, Jaffray & Hopwood Inc.
While company officials declined to talk about MicroProse's finances yesterday, Mr. Stealey, a former Air Force pilot, told The Sun in December that the recession had cut the company's annual sales growth from 35 percent in 1989 to 25 percent last year.
At that time, Mr. Stealey said that the bulk of the company's $25 million in revenues came from sales of vividly colored computer-screen simulations of fighter plane and submarine battles.
In addition to a F-15 game that puts the player in the cockpit of one of a U.S. front-line fighters, the company offers a game based on the F-19 "stealth" fighter that saw heavy action in the Persian Gulf war.
Another of the company's more popular products is a computer game simulating submarine warfare based on Tom Clancy's best-selling novel "Red Storm Rising."