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Warner Bros. Interactive Set To Remain Part of AT & T

 

Batman figures

Warner Bros. Interactive is set to remain part of AT&T and may no longer be up for sale, according to a recent press release from the company. Rivals such as Microsoft and EA were interested in acquiring the division (and presumably the licenses to properties such as Mortal Kombat, Harry Potter, the DC universe and many others). Whoever owned it, would be in control of a large number of studios and the potential to corner a significant portion of the market. 

AT&T is looking to reduce its debts as they have ballooned in recent years. According to Deadline: "AT&T’s debt ballooned with its acquisition of Time Warner in 2018 for $85 billion. Debt stood at $150 billion at the end of 2019." One way to have done this was to shed divisions such as Warner Bros. Interactive, which could have raised $4bn (or more). 

A press release from Warner Media confirms the u-turn. The key paragraph says: "Warner Bros. Interactive remains part of the Studios and Networks group, along with our Global Brands and Franchises team including DC led by Pam Lifford, and our Kids, Young Adults and Classics business led by Tom Ascheim, all focused on engaging fans with our brands and franchises through games and other interactive experiences."

The timing of the announcement, after Rocksteady announced a  new Suicide Squad game, was perhaps done to reassure fans that the game (and others in development) was still in good hands and nothing disruptive was happening to prevent these games from being released. It's the friendly captain smiling as an iceberg looms on the horizon. 

In the long term, though, AT&T will need to tackle its debt and may have to shed Warner Bros. Interactive or spin it off on the stock market to raise funds. It could also look to private equity to acquire it, too. While I don't think its game studios will be affected in the short term, we could, unfortunately, see closures in the long term as AT&T looks to maintain a tight control on costs. 








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