AT&T is offering Warner Bros. game division for sale

AT&T is providing its Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) division up on the market, in keeping with a CNBC report in addition to our personal reporting.

Citing unnamed sources, CNBC mentioned Friday that potential bidders included Take-Two Interactive, Digital Arts, and Activision Blizzard. If the sale occurs, it might be a serious change for Hollywood and its relationship with the trade, as most main studios are opting to get out of the sport enterprise, reversing a development from earlier many years the place they loaded up on dev studios.

Two sources confirmed to GamesBeat that the report is appropriate when it comes to the division being up on the market. WBIE has not commented on this. Each EA and Take-Two declined to remark. Activision Blizzard didn’t reply to the request for remark.

CNBC mentioned the worth might be about $four billion. However considered one of my sources mentioned the worth supplied was $2 billion. A significant recreation firm mentioned it was not within the buy as a result of WBIE solely intermittently makes cash, and it doesn’t personal a number of the main franchises which can be on the core of its main video games. It doesn’t, as an example, personal the Harry Potter license, as it’s not clear if creator J.Ok. Rowling would approve a switch of the license from Warner Bros. to a different recreation firm. Nor does it personal the DC Comics property, which the Batman Arkham and Injustice franchises use.

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No deal is assured or imminent, CNBC mentioned. WBIE has 10 recreation studios, which David Haddad heads. The corporate makes a big selection of video games corresponding to Harry Potter, Lego, Mortal Kombat, Batman Arkham, and Sport of Thrones. It additionally has quirky cell titles like Golf Conflict, and this 12 months it’s launching Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

WBIE’s studios embrace TT Video games, Rocksteady Studios, NetherRealm Studios, Monolith Productions, WB Video games Boston, Avalanche Software program, Playdemic, WB Video games Montreal, WB Video games San Francisco, and WB Games San Diego. WBIE stands out as one of many few successes within the marriage of Hollywood and video games, and it’s a sort of crown jewel of the sport enterprise.

Above: David Haddad is president of Warner Bros. Interactive Leisure.

Picture Credit score: Dean Takahashi

Final 12 months, rumors additionally emerged that AT&T, which acquired WBIE by its $109 billion Time Warner acquisition, was planning to promote WBIE to assist scale back its $200 billion in debt. It shelved that plan, viewing WBIE as a prize asset. However in the course of the present recession, made worse by the coronavirus and the latest unrest, AT&T is beneath extra monetary stress from shareholders to promote property.

On prime of that, former Warner Media CEO John Stankey is changing Randall Stephenson as CEO of AT&T on July 1.

As for Hollywood and video games, plenty of the film studios are doubling down on the streaming wars as they attempt to take care of the lockdown of film theaters. Video games, after all, can be an effective way for the leisure firms to go digital. However the heavy investments in streaming of films and TV reveals are taxing the Hollywood firms. Disney+ was profitable in getting lots of customers, and that’s prompting the opposite studios to observe go well with, mentioned one observer who requested to not be recognized.

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